A 5 Step Guide To Dealing With Fictional Characters Who Make Bad Decisions

The list of fictional characters I love is far too long. I, in some weird sense, feel like a mother to many of them because I want nothing more than to protect them and love them and see them happy.

That’s why it’s really hard for me to watch some of them consistently making bad decisions. When real people in my life make bad choices, I can talk to them and discuss with them and help them, but I can’t do that with fictional characters on account of them being fictional and me being not crazy. I’m sure you all know those feelings though, doesn’t matter from shows, movies, or books: disappointed and worried and weary. Fictional characters are supposed to be fun!

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So in an attempt to cope, I’ve created a 5 step guide to dealing with fictional characters who make bad decisions, and now I’m sharing it with you because if you’re watching the same shows I am, you’ll understand.

Step 1 – Yell at the TV but in a sassy way. Sure, no one but your mildly concerned roommates can hear you, but if you’re going to shout at the TV anyway, doing it with some humor makes the situation a bit more enjoyable. “Oh my God, Bartholomew Allen, I swear, if you’re even thinking about messing up the timeline again, I will come down there and trip you while you are running.”

Step 2 – Tweet. In caps. This way, you’re quiet physically but your shout into the void can at least be immortalized on the internet and be seen by fellow frustrated people. You’re all in this together, and that is comforting.

Step 3 – Go back and watch episodes where they were all making good choices. Try to cancel out the new stress by watching good old episodes. Ones where everyone was doing as they should and it’s all calm and sane. If it’s a show that’s been on for a few years, I suggest going back to season one because that’s when everyone was younger and simpler and the show’s writing is probably stronger. If you think season 1 Rachel Berry would have made the same choices that season 5 Rachel Berry did, then you and I need to speak.

Step 4- Re-evaluate things. Spend portions of you day wondering where you, as metaphorical parent, went wrong. Stare at a blank wall or a blank TV as you do this. Perhaps fold your hands over your face. Sigh deeply, in an out. Imagine what life would be like if the characters didn’t make bad choices.

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Step 5 – Repeat. Yeah. You really can’t deal with it. Psyyyyych (or is it sike?). This list is a lie. We’re forever stuck and nothing will change that. You can’t in-see and unless you’re willing to stop watching, you’re in for a ride. Make peace with this sooner rather than later so you can prepare yourself.

Fun, right?

That’s all for now!

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Sometimes The Blogosphere Annoys Me

Everything isn’t sunshine and roses in the blogosphere. There are many wonderful parts, way more than negative for sure, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore the less than pleasant parts. And maybe these are only less than pleasant to me, someone who is admittedly very over-critical, but that doesn’t make them any less of a problem.

This is not a call out. I am not targeting anyone. Everyone is free to do what they want with their blogs and that is super-duper. Goodness knows I’m not perfect and neither is my blog. The point of this post is just me letting my readers know my blogosphere pet peeves. Maybe you agree. Maybe you don’t. That’s fine. Please don’t argue too much with me. I’m far too tired to argue.

Here are the things that happen in the blogosphere that annoy me. Let’s get salty:

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  • Bloggers with Twitter accounts that are almost all just sharing post links….over and over and over….and over. I probably won’t follow you if you do this, but I do follow a few of those Blog Retweet accounts and I see some of the same bloggers so many times anyways. It gets annoying. No one wants to be spammed by the same three posts 50 times in three days. Why bother having social media if you only use it for blog posts? And perhaps these Blog Retweet accounts should look at who they’re retweeting and go “Hm, I just retweeted three posts from this person already, so I’m not going to retweet their other five,” instead of just blindly doing it.
  • When someone starts a new blog and then says “I don’t know what I’m going to write about” or “Tell me what to write!”. That isn’t convincing me to stick around at all. There’s a difference between wanting your readers’ opinions and wanting readers’ to do all the thinking for you.
  • Follow for Follow or Like for Like. I’ve been seeing a surge in these kind of requests on Facebook. I know blogging is largely a numbers game, but numbers are meaningless if they do nothing. I don’t want someone following me back or Liking my posts/page because I did the same first, I want you to do it because you genuinely like what I have to say. Don’t follow my blog but never read my posts.
  • People who spam likes. I see this in WordPress’ Community Pool sometimes…someone will go through and like literally every single comment in there. As much as I enjoy getting likes, I know it’s probably not genuine and you’re doing it so you have more chances for people can go to your site.
  • Bad grammar…I know I sound snobby here, but I really can’t stand it when people don’t use uppercase I’s or have run on sentences because they’re used to talking, not writing. I know it’s a learned skill and I know some people probably choose not to do it, but I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t try to make their blog as professional as possible…especially because sometimes these are the same people who bought their domain and spend hours taking good pictures so they can seem more professional. The bad grammar extends to social media too. I know 140 characters can be tough on Twitter, but try to be consistent in terms of style.

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  • I really hate how clique-y the blogosphere can be. There’s so much I can say here, but I think anyone who’s been in the blogosphere on Twitter knows exactly how it can be. It kind of makes it harder for other bloggers (me) to fit in.
  • When people use too many emojis. This means in the post as well as on Twitter. On Twitter at least I understand that they draw the eye and are fun, but in a post they sometimes look silly. Like, what, you’ve written all those words but you don’t know how to express yourself without a little face showing it? 🙄 (<- this is both a reaction and an example).

You know, now that I think about it, this is the second blog post I’ve written where I am critical of blogging aspects. Perhaps you remember the Blog Drinking Game I made up? Sorry for being a downer all the time, especially on a Monday morning. The good news is, now that I’ve complained publically, I’m able to just move on and be quiet about my frustrations in the future.

Do you have any blogosphere pet peeves or are annoyed by something in the blogosphere? If yes (and we all know there is something that bothers you), let me know! Come on, be salty with me!

 

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4 Life Hacks To Make Your Life Coolbeans

I’m all about the hacks, y’all. I love reading life hacks. Life is already so hard, so I’ll take any chance to make it a little easier.

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I like to think that I’m a pretty creative person and have actually come up with a few hacks worthy of sharing. These won’t revolutionize your life but they may help you out a little, and if you can do them with success and then think of me fondly, then that’s good enough.

1. Get back a lost USB

It’s always a good idea to have a USB on you. Especially if you’re a student. I own several sticks but one of them I’ve had for years and it holds many important files, including my WIP novel, so it’s kind of important that I not lose it. So I came up with a way to ensure that your chances of having your USB returned to you are greatly increased. Check it out:

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That second last file you see there is a simple Word Doc that has my name, cell phone number and email. No one just blindly deletes files off a found USB, so chances are, when going through my files, someone will see my message, contact me and return it.

2. Overnight hair waves

This is for my long-haired ladies (or dudes) who hate spending time with a hair curler. It’s taken me a few tries but I’ve finally managed to get a system down that lets me get nice waves in my hair while I sleep. First, take a shower and wrap your hair up in a towel for about an hour. Go watch an episode of a TV show while you wait. Then take your hair out, comb it, and let it air dry for another fifteen minutes. Then, when it’s still slightly damp, wrap it up in a really tight bun and sleep on it. When you let your hair down the next morning, it should have some nice, light waves and curls.

3. Make rice in the microwave

Maybe this isn’t complete news, but everyone I’ve mentioned it to, including my high school cooking teacher, seemed baffled at the idea of making rice in the microwave. Trust me, this is so easy. In a microwave safe dish with a lid, add rice and water following the 1:2 ratio of cups of rice to water. Then you put in the microwave for 20 minutes on power level 7 and boom: perfect rice. No need to buy a rice cooker or anything. You’re welcome.

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4. Make your own nasal strip

As much as a small part of me thinks these things are just placebo, I’d rather use them than not when I have a cold. However, at school when I can’t swipe one or two from my parents and don’t want to go buy my own, I make some, and they work just as well. I take a sticky note and cut and fold it so it’s stiff and long enough to cover the bridge of my nose. Then I put a piece of scotch tape over it to tape it to my skin. There’s really nothing special about the actual product, so paper and tape work just as well when it comes to applying light pressure to one’s nose.

I know these may not be the most useful of hacks, but hopefully they’ll help you a little, as they’ve helped me. There are several other little life hacks I’ve kind of created over the years, but these four were the most useful to the most people. If you guys created or know any other life hacks, I’d love to know them!

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Our Online Legacy

There’s this line from Hamilton: “What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” As much as we’d all like to leave behind a memorable and remarkable legacy, the fact is, we probably won’t.

And you’re ready to tell me, don’t say that, you never know what the future holds!

Don’t bother, I’ve accepted my averageness. It’s fine.

Maybe I won’t leave a legacy fit for a history book, or even a Wikipedia page, but I still will be remembered. I know that when I die, my family and friends will mourn me, but in this day in age, so much of our lives are online too. My laptop spends an extraordinary amount of time turned on, it seems only fair that this extension of myself will be mourned too.

Several years ago I told my best friend where she’d be able to find a list of all my passwords so that if something were to happen to me, she’d be able to let my connections know. I’m sure she doesn’t remember and I’ve since moved said list so it doesn’t matter, but I still think it’s important that the idea remains.

My blog, my Twitter, my six emails accounts…They all contain my life. And every one of you reading this are a part of it. I’d hate for any friends or readers online to think I’ve just forgotten about them. I’d like to say now: y’all mean a lot.

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Facebook has a Legacy setting where you can pick people now to give access to your profile upon your passing. I use Facebook so insignificantly, I don’t think any friends would use it to remember me. A lot of other websites have ways of giving similar access. When I heard this information, I have to admit, I spent a few good minutes wondering if I could convince Twitter that the girl who has the @coolbeans4 handle is dead. Apparently, without any proof, I cannot.

But isn’t it weird, that one’s online presence can live on through other people? If my friend starting tweeting for me, could you tell? If someone else started blogging for me, would you notice? It seems like a creepy idea but Tony Stark basically kept Jarvis alive through AI and we just accepted that.

And you’re ready to tell me, but that’s fictional!

Is it though? Or is it…the future?

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There’s actually already sites where you can input someone’s text messages and probably other info and the computer can simulate conversation, like Replika. It was literally designed to help deal with the death of a friend in a car accident. Computers are smart, and the more info given, the more they’d be able to mimic the real style of the person.

And if that doesn’t sound like the start of the Robot Wars, then I don’t know what does.

It’s just interesting to consider. As our technology continues to grow, how we use technology to remember dead people will change as well. It’s weird that we have to plan for this already.

If you die next week (insert pause for my mother to whisper “God forbid!”), who will you leave your online presence to?

 

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Novel Writing: The Story With My Story

When I was in sixth grade I wrote a novel. And by novel, I mean a 100 page Word doc with size 16 font and horrid plot progression. But it had a beginning, middle and end. It was my pride and joy.

I know a lot of bloggers also are novel writers. I know a lot of them participate in NaNoWriMo. I am insanely jealous of that. These people not only have the time to write a novel but they actually have plot ideas? I am in awe.

I struggle with ideas. I always have. Aside from that one pathetic novel in grade six, almost all the stories and ‘novels’ I wrote growing up were either complete plagiarism or used really basic characters and arcs. I even struggle with blog post ideas and the fact that I’ve managed to keep up this blog for almost two years on my own is actually shocking. I don’t know how I do it.

Towards the end high school I did have a novel idea. I can’t remember how it came to me but all of the sudden I had characters and a plot and I would spend time thinking about it. To date, it’s my best idea and I do believe that it’s a decent one. I want to see it through. I got about 50k words in and then kind of stopped when I got writer’s block. Then I went University and always had the intention of going back to it when I had time.

The reason I’m telling you this and the joke of it all is that one of my majors is in writing and there’s this fourth year course that I’m interested in about literally making a book. Not to be dramatic, but that course is one of the reasons I’m even at the school I’m at. The head of the department talked it up when I toured the campus.

I’m in third year now and am slowly starting to plan for my final year. I’ve looked into the course some more and found out that the idea is to go into the class with a story already written and then throughout the semester edit and polish it and get it ready to be published at the end. I now understand why a lot of students apparently use compilations of the stories they’ve written in other writing courses throughout the years. The problem with that is that all the stories we write for these other courses are non-fiction about our real lives and again, not to be dramatic, but my life is very boring and I really dislike all my stories. So if I were to take this book course next year, I guess I need to start writing…or, continue writing, as my half novel is probably my best bet.

And that scares me.

I could be enrolled in this course as soon as September and I’m not near ready to let other people read this novel. I haven’t even read it in two years. I can only imagine the cringing I’ll do when I do go back to it. What if I hate everything? What if my characters are too one-dimensional? What if my writing is too weak? What if my plot twists are too boring? What if I use too many clichés? What if I can’t think of an ending?

Writing for a blog and writing for a novel are very different and since I’ve mostly only written for a blog as of late, I’m worried about the adjustment.

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I love to write, and writing a book is one of the few things on my so called bucket list. I always kind of figured that one day I’d get my act together, finish and edit a novel and send it out to agents or publishers (though I don’t know the first thing on going about that and it seems like an even scarier task than doing the actual writing). Whether I take this course at school or not, I’m not going to stop dreaming about one day having my name on an actual printed book.

So, my blogging amigos and dedicated readers, do you have any advice or tips? How do you carve out time to write? How do you get back into the swing of writing? How do you make your story the best? How do you develop new ideas? How do you know when your writing is good enough?

Any resources or wise words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated.

 

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