Living in Florida: The Month of S [2018]

I didn’t plan on living in Florida, but somehow it happened. If you want to talk about really badly planned events that went extremely well, you want to talk about the time in 2018 when I moved to Florida for a couple months.

Waiting for JET

Because I had just gone and assumed I’d be accepted for the JET Program after applying in 2017, I decided not to renew my lease in Seattle. I would quit my job at the end of May 2018, then spend time with my Dad’s side of the family, then my Mom’s side of the family, before I moved to Japan for several years.

It was a very solid plan—June in Florida, July in Georgia, then August and beyond in wherever JET sent me, hopefully Aichi Prefecture. The only problem was that I didn’t get accepted. I got waitlisted.

I feverishly tracked the JET Program Reddit to find out the status of waitlisted candidates to see my chances go down, and down, and down.

In April when the real acceptances were picked, some obviously had to decline and then more alternates would be picked to fill those slots. That never came.

In May I waited for the college graduates who got a sweet offer at their Dad’s firm and decided a $70,000 base salary was better than their presumed year-long vacation to Japan. That never came.

In June I waited for those last emergency dropouts for people who got arrested or had health problems or simply got wet feet. That never came.

I mean, I know I bombed the interview really badly, but I felt so confident that I looked great on paper. I studied in Japan for a year and had Japanese as a minor, I had experience as a teaching assistant, I had a degree in Writing & Linguistics and knew a lot about the English language… It genuinely hurt me to find that I had been completely passed over.

It hurt me even more to know that I had already set the plans in motion to go and could not stop them under any circumstance. Already having subleased my room out, already having put in my notice at work, already having bought plane tickets to Florida, it was beyond too late to reconsider. And it really sucked, but I decided to make good use of it anyway!

This is actually a pretty happy story, I promise.

(Also, spoiler alert, but I DID get accepted to the JET Program months later in one of the most fateful freak accidents the world has ever given me. I’ve been grateful ever since.)

Continue reading “Living in Florida: The Month of S [2018]”

Perhaps You Should Donate on Patreon

Did you know that I have a Patreon? Or, rather, the Quinlan Circle, of which I am a member, has a Patreon?

Maybe not, and if you didn’t, let me tell you the reasons you should donate some of your money to the cause (because there are a great many):

The Quinlan Circle provides hundreds of hours of free content every single year, in every medium and genre imaginable. Whether it’s teen romance or dry comedy or thriller, whether it’s web novels or webcomics or blogs or music albums, you can expect tons of Quinlan Circle stories. Every donation we receive helps us continue that mission of providing lots of free content for everyone to enjoy.

morgan wants you to donate on patreon
  • The Quinlan Vault! Anyone who backs at the lowest tier (currently $1), can read dozens of exclusive stories found only on Patreon, or posted on Patreon first. That includes comics, short stories, bonus content, and other odd stuff that will bring you much enjoyment.
  • And when I’m saying bonus content, I mean ATL itself has some really neat stuff already on the Quinlan Vault, including an exclusive short story “Morgan & Karina’s Bad Movie Night!” and the never-before-seen, extremely rare first draft of The Social Media Killer, which was extremely different and even has a completely different final action sequence.
  • Websites don’t make themselves… I’d totally love to afford to redesign all of the Quinlan Circle story sites to have more dynamic and visually appealing and easy-to-navigate layouts, but that’s a long way off for now. With enough support, though, we could make that happen.
  • Art is expensive! Hands Held in the Snow was fully illustrated, with twenty beautiful pieces of art throughout the story. Invisible Werewolf Dracula Meets Vampire Mummy Frankenstein had wonderful art for every single chapter, and ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture has cover art for every single new story. All the time and money on the art can add up, and so every donation on Patreon helps us continue delivering great artwork with our content.

Since you’re clearly already convinced, I don’t think I need to list any more reasons. Every dollar you give is another dollar (minus processing fees 🙁 ) in our weird multi-person pocket to spend on new stories that push the limits of web fiction, and that’s what I really hope you’ll do.

[2012] The Nostalgic World of Obama x Romney Fan Fiction

I can’t believe it was a simpler time for politics back in 2012. It felt like there was really something boiling under the lid, something about to spill over and really harm the country. Of course, that feeling ended up proving true in 2016, when the forces under the surface of the prior election cycle became the ultimate symbol of chaos and division for the United States.

The GOP presidential primaries that year were a battle for the soul of the party, where Tea Party demagogues like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum dueled against the big business establishment of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and against the libertarian populism of Ron Paul. A holy war was being waged, and the eventual result, four years later, was that all three of these factions would collide into the socially conservative, big business populist known as, uh, that one guy who became President in 2016.

Continue reading “[2012] The Nostalgic World of Obama x Romney Fan Fiction”

Super Mario Bros Z Episode 9, and the Slow, Tortuous Death of Fan Projects [2012]

Nerds of a certain age are highly likely to have seen Super Mario Bros Z. If you liked video games and had internet access between the years of 2006 and 2009, you either watched Super Mario Bros Z, or at the very least heard about it. There is very little on this Earth that exemplifies the late 00s more than a Newgrounds flash animation crossover of Mario and Sonic filled with anime fight scenes and chugga chugga guitar tracks.

However, this isn’t an 00s Retrospective series; this is about the 10s. And the only relationship with the 10s Super Mario Bros. Z has is that this was the decade wherein the whole project perished, and the world was taught a lesson on the folly of fan fiction passion projects.

not super mario bros z

Super Mario Bros. Z always faced the problem that its entire existence was owed to one man working for free. Alvin Earthworm, the quite talented series creator, did the writing, the direction, the animation, and even most of the custom spritework all by himself, with no chance of compensation. Solo or near-solo efforts on larger projects can work out well (see Stardew Valley and Undertale, whose creators are multi-millionaires now), but for a fan project? It can be a dicey proposition.

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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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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.)

Continue reading “[2010] My First “Real” Short Story”

[2010-2019] The Web Fiction Community

Introduction

I’ve been writing on the web since the time I joined my first internet forum (Nintendo City.com) at the end of 2005. In some form or another, whether that be sprite comics, fan fiction, short stories, video game reviews, ironic audio dramas, web serials, I’ve been writing for fifteen years and almost all of that was on the internet (sadly you can still find most of it, too).

For all of that, then, it is interesting to me that the first time I really found a community around writing web fiction was only in 2019. And it is interesting to me that that community is both dying and thriving at the same time.

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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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[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”