Spaceballs

As part of the Quinlan Circle’s first DVD Challenge (Sign up for our Patreon to vote for movies to make us watch!!), I watched Spaceballs, an old childhood favorite of mine for a couple years. (Here is Joi Massat’s own write-up on the movie.)

I hadn’t seen it since something like 2005, so it was a very odd experience revisiting it for how well I remembered almost every single scene. It played out exactly how I remembered.

Actually, aside from understanding all the sex jokes and making me realize I was not old enough to watch this movie at all, there was nothing new here for me to discover at all… Which is maybe a bad thing overall.

Like, I love all the slapstick comedy and the stupid nonsense jokes that go on way too far. I love all the fourth wall breaks where they skip ahead in the movie to find out plot details. But I didn’t love this as much as I expected I would.

Maybe my sense of nostalgia and knowing that it would hold up well started to override my expectations and make me think this would have so much more to offer when I watched it as an adult? It’s just a juvenile spoof movie with a bunch of good gags. It’s nothing more than that, and that should be okay with me. But it kind of disappointed me a little bit…

Spaceballs is funny, Mel Brooks is a genius, and I’m overthinking all of this by a ton. But this is a weird case where I wanted the movie to be a lot more than it was, but instead it was exactly the same.

ATL Season 2 + Pride Month Celebrations

Two big updates:

ATL Season 2 has started!!!

The ninth story, The Dial-Up Demon, is now out, all thirteen chapters. The posting schedule for this season is going to be a bit different than Season 1’s three-times-a-week clockwork style, which I hope will be better for y’all binging types. You can start reading here!

Don’t you wanna read it? Art by hellspawnmotel.

Chapters are gonna be… vaguely monthly. I’m only going to release updates when they are ready, and when there’s a sizeable enough chunk that it’ll be worth it. I stole this idea from Alexander Wales and I hope it helps.

Second news…

Pride Month is underway!!!

Yeah I probably could have made a more detailed post about this, and earlier than this. I’ll make another post later but for now I’ll just say that there’s a lot of gay stuff this month and the Quinlan Circle is celebrating it.

First off, I’ve been running a #PrideWebFiction feature on Twitter where I promote one piece of queer web media every day throughout the month. The endeavor has received a ton of support and it’s really cool to see all the great queer stories out there.

There is also… Another project afoot. Such as Pride Month art for all of the main queer couples in each Quinlan Circle series! The art is part of a commission by Ryuichirou and there is more coming after this…

Check the art out:

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The Beginning of Lord of the Rings

I started listening to the audiobook for the first Lord of the Rings book this morning, marking the first time I’ve ever read (?) this extremely famous book trilogy. And aside from watching half of Fellowship in 2011, I haven’t seen any of the movies since probably 2004. So this is an extremely fresh experience to me!

It’s also bizarrely, uh, not widely appealing in the beginning, to put it politely. The first forty-plus minutes of this book, and it’s still in the Shire with Bilbo’s party and all his relatives. Bilbo just disappeared right when I stopped the book. Forty minutes of Hobbit culture and random irrelevant characters talking about their quaint little British lives… it’s a little bit boring! I like it for its whimsy, but there certainly isn’t anything noteworthy going on just yet.

And that fascinates me.

So much of writing advice talks about making a strong impact as fast as possible, for your novels to leap into the most appealing parts as fast as possible or to otherwise grab readers so they don’t let go. Fantasy novels especially so, with a cutthroat market filled with thousands of web novels and ebooks and gigantic 1000-page tomes at your local indie bookstore. Boring a reader is a straight ticket to them dropping the book and never picking it back up.

At least… that’s what’s always taught. That’s the advice that’s always given. Focus on the characters and the plot and keep the action (not always literal action) moving… But then the forefather of all high fantasy spends 40 minutes of its audiobook describing an out-of-the-way town filled with simple bumpkins? It flies in the face of all that despite being, of course, one of the most successful books in all of history.

Did Lord of the Rings simply exist and gain its fame in a time before that sort of stuff would have killed a book? Is its charm just that alluring even to reluctant readers? Or is the conventional wisdom given to writers not so accurate at all?

I have no idea, but it really interests me to wonder about it.

Story Status Updates + Info

I realized it’s been a while since I made a blog post, let alone one that gave an update on what I’ve been up to. So I thought I’d make a brief summary of some of the things you might not be aware of in the world of Thedude3445:

  • First of all, ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture Season 2 is starting very soon! On June 16th, to be exact. If you haven’t caught up on the adventures of Morgan Harding and friends, now is the perfect time.
  • I don’t think I mentioned it on this blog before, but as a stress-relieving activity I started an isekai LitRPG parody series in February called Reborn on a Systemless Earth… With a System. It’s the story about a fantasy character who is hit by a speeding carriage and reincarnated… in modern-day San Francisco?! The antics are wacky and the stakes are very low, and somehow it’s become my all-time most-popular original story already. People really love LitRPGs, it seems.
  • Hands Held in the Snow is also still ongoing and still publishing at two times per week. The story has gotten a lot of nice people following along with Emi and Beatrice’s story lately, and I love each and every one of them. <3

And here is some other upcoming news:

  • Web Fiction Guide is coming back! It’s been in limbo since August or September, and so my newest two serials haven’t even gotten listed on there. But it is coming back soon and that is very exciting.
  • Quinlan Circle will be celebrating Pride Month in style. Since all of our ongoing stories (Except DracuFrank 🙁 ) heavily feature LGBT+ themes, there’s gonna be a ton of nice content throughout June! stay tuned for that, and make sure to follow on social media to stay informed. Details are mum for now, but I can spoil that the excellent artist Ryuichirou Aoino (of Issues fame) may be involved…
  • Hands Held in the Snow is currently being posted here on the Quinlan Circle website, as well as on Royal Road. But on the encouragement of many, it is highly likely that it will be added to two new sites: Scribble Hub and Tapas! If you like either of those sites, make sure to keep your eyes peeled.
  • The movie Nobody was delayed to 2021 and it still makes me sad every time I think about it :'(

And that’s all for now! I’ll try to post more blog posts in the near future since I ought to make better use of this site.

[2010] My First “Real” Short Story

It’s been about ten years since I started writing original prose fiction and posting it on the internet. I don’t think I was really conscious of it at the time, since I was still busy making fan fictions and sprite comics and all that sort of stuff, but it took until high school for me to really start making the things that would eventually make me the writer I am today.

Of course, because I was a little shit, though, one of the first short stories I finished was an “experimental” piece of trash called “An Hero is a Hero.”

(Read it and try to make sense of anything in it. I dare you.)

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Thedude3445’s Guide to Writing Cute Romance

Hello and welcome to my guide on writing cute romance storylines. After my work in stories like Hands Held in the Snow and “On the Ship” (among many others), I’ve had a lot of people ask me for advice on how to write about love and couples in ways that make readers feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, as well as get them hyped up to start shipping your characters together. There’s a whole lot of advice I’d like to give, so I decided to make an entire article on the subject!

This guide can be for a small subplot in a bigger work just as much as a full romance story It’s all just my own methods and thought process, so a whole lot of the details in here will be specific to how I approach storytelling. There’s obviously no one superior method to how to make your romantic storylines adorable.

But while these are just my thoughts and opinions, not some steadfast rules to adhere to, I think they’ll be helpful to anyone who’s looking for how to enhance their romance. It may be a useful read even if you aren’t interested in romance writing, at least because I will explain some of my favorite story techniques and why I like to use them.

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2010s Retrospectives Update

Just an update on the 2010s Retrospectives blog series here: I’ve written a whole lot of these posts by now, with topics ranging all over the spectrum and posts as short as a couple paragraphs or as long as three or four thousand words. It’s been a really fun time, and I’ve gotten to reflect on things I’m not sure I ever would have remembered had I not been trying to think about various 2010s-related topics.

As for the whole project, I’d say we are well past the halfway point by now. For all the topics I would like to cover, there aren’t too many huge ones I’m still missing out on. So there will be another few months of posts, but we will soon finally be able to put the 2010s to rest (albeit several months into the new decade).

I want to make more of the “Best of the Decade” articles about my favorite media from the past ten years, but those posts take extraordinarily long to make compared to the ones that cover a single topic. If I get the time and gumption to finish more, they will probably come closer to the end of the whole series.

And one last thing… While I’m really writing these mostly for the fun of having a strange, public diary of sorts to look back on one day, I am obviously always glad when people find and read through these posts. However, the site stats tell me most of these posts so far have only single-digit views, which is a bit disheartening. If you have the time, please share some of these posts with other people! I’d love to have more readers and especially more commenters as well.

It is perhaps fitting that, ten years after starting my first blog, my latest one gets just about the same number of views per post. Fitting, but maybe a bit sad as well.

[2018] Rhapsody for My Dead End-of-the-Decade Plan

There was a brief time where, due to confusing and failed life plans as a result of my tenuous position as an alternate for the JET Program, I was a NEET from July to November 2018. And because of that, for three months, I was getting no income, but I was also living rent-free with my parents and infinite free time… My dreams of being a Full-Time Writer came true. If I was going to be a NEET, I was going to be a NEET who accomplished great things…!!!

Then I got called to fulfill a position in the JET Program after all at the end of October and that all disappeared immediately. But I had set all of these lofty goals for myself… I really was gonna make this writing thing work… But, yeah, I definitely chose to actually make money doing a job I like instead of risking getting buried in accumulating debt.

Continue reading “[2018] Rhapsody for My Dead End-of-the-Decade Plan”

Newtype Coffee…?!

I was in Nagoya, a city with considerably higher vending machine diversity than my town back in Tohoku. You really never know when you’re gonna stumble on some weird limited edition drink in some back alley machine set up for the can collectors next door, or one really weird edition in one machine among a row of five different ones.

And on this day I stumbled on the Newtype Coffee. What does it mean? What could it be? It’s a Gundam drink with not one, but TWO can designs. And it’s sold exclusively as a warm coffee, so you can use it to heat up your hands in the blistering 12-degree-celsius mornings of absolute winter wasteland Nagoya.

I got three of them, because I have basically no impulse control and also because I wanted to tell you, yes you, exactly how this drink tastes so you can find it if you so want.

Continue reading “Newtype Coffee…?!”

ATL’s First Season is Finished!

After 14 months, eight stories, and over 150 chapters, ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture has finished its first season.

It’s still dazing me a bit to think about it. I actually wrote all of that. Wow.

Anyway, I wrote a bit more about it on the ATL site in the Season 1 Endcap, which I recommend you read. ATL itself will be going on a short hiatus in preparation for Season 2, but that doesn’t mean that the Quinlan Circle (and by extension, myself) is going anywhere. In fact… you should probably bookmark the Hands Held in the Snow page as soon as possible, because that one comes out tomorrow….!

(Whew, Thedude3445 is way too busy)