Don’t Give Up On Silent Protagonists

Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.

As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!

But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.

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Where Are the Single People in YA Fiction?

Around this time last year, I wrote a post about my favorite fictional couples (which you should definitely go back and read if you missed it the first time around). I thought it would make a nice parallel to do a similar post this year, but focusing on characters who aren’t in relationships.

And then I ran into a slight problem: I couldn’t think of any.

I know, I was pretty surprised too, but let me explain. The single characters I could think of usually didn’t work for one of two reasons. One, they were not main characters, so the audience isn’t expecting to hear much about their relationships unless it’s directly related to the plot. Two, the character is the “token” single person in a cast of characters who had romantic relationships, so there’s a heavy focus on how they’re different from the other characters. There were still a handful remaining after I completed that criteria, but certainly not enough to write a whole list like last year.

That got me thinking – where are all of the single people in our stories, specifically in YA fiction?

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC

If you follow video games at all, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – released barely over two months ago – has become Nintendo’s fastest selling game. The multiplayer fighting game is a hit with hardcore and casual players alike, with its colorful selection of stages, items, and characters setting it apart from the crowd.

Since the original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, the character roster has grown from twelve to over seventy different options. Of course, we’re still waiting on the new DLC (“downloadable content”) characters. Nintendo announced that Joker from Persona 5 will be joining the roster in February, but the other newcomers remain a mystery.

I understand the speculation train has long since left the station, and everyone and their cousin has put out a video or article about who they want to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I’m going to do my own anyway. After much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of five characters I think would be good fits for the SSBU stage – not necessarily ones I think are likely to make it there, but if I were in charge, I’d pick them.

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January 2019 Month in Review

Congratulations on making it through the first month of the year! I don’t know about you, but January seemed to go by fast for me… which I can’t say I’m feeling too upset about, since it’s been bitter cold here in Pennsylvania for most of the month. Despite the below-freezing temperatures though, I had a great month!

Before I share all of that though, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed it:

  • What I want to accomplish in 2019 (and what I did in 2018)
  • Cleaning a bunch of books off of my to-be-read list (in two parts!)
  • What we can learn about writing from Avatar: The Last Airbender

By the way, I’m also back to doing my 1 Second Everyday videos! You can watch January’s compilation below:

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Writing Lessons From Avatar: The Last Airbender

There’s a stereotype of children’s entertainment being overly simplified and poorly written, and unfortunately, that’s true for a lot of children’s shows. Every so often though, there comes someone who puts time and effort into what they create, because they understand that children can be just as smart and perceptive as adults.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of those shows, and today I want to talk about just a few of the things we writers – even adult writers – can learn from it.

Beware, spoilers ahead!

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The Great TBR Purge of 2019 – Part 2

It’s interesting to see how my reading tastes have changed over the years. There have been times when it felt like I was reading the same books and genres over and over again, but as I look back on the books I added to my TBR when I was in middle school and high school, I can see the difference time has had.

Continuing with last week, I’m rounding out my TBR purge with nine more books. Who will survive, and who gets cut? Make sure you’re all caught up on Part 1, then read on for more!

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The Great TBR Purge of 2019 – Part 1

Two years ago, I took a look at my “To-be-read” (TBR) list on GoodReads and decided it needed some cleaning up. I picked out a handful of books from the list (well, a little more than that, since I split it into two posts) and decided to give them another look. Of those 14 books, only 5 survived the purge, and I ended up reading 3 of those 5 shortly after.

I looked at my TBR list again this year, and realized it might be time for another purge. There’s a lot of books still on there that I added nearly 6 (!) years ago, and I’m different person now than I was when I was 14-15.

Without further ado, The Great TBR Purge of 2019 (Part 1, because I have a lot of books to cover this time)

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Goals for 2019

Some of us might argue that setting goals for the new year is overrated, and I’m inclined to agree. As BlimeyCow so well explained in one of their recent videos, picking some far-off day in the future to make a change in your life isn’t always helpful in the end.

Even so, I still like the idea of setting goals and looking back at the end of the year and seeing how far I’ve come. But even if they’re goals for the year, I still take it one day at a time. Forget to write one day? Well, there’s always tomorrow. A setback on Monday doesn’t mean I can’t jump back on Tuesday and try again.

With that in mind, I want to look back on how I did with the goals I set for myself in 2018, then look ahead at what I want to do better in 2019.

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2018: Year In Review

Before I start, I think we should all just give ourselves a pat on the back for making it to the end of the year. Whether 2018 was the best year or the worst year of your life, finishing another calendar year is really something to be proud of.

As I do every year, I’m wrapping up 2018 with a look back at my favorite music, books, video games, blog posts, and other moments that made the year special. I do my best to keep it brief, but let’s face it… there’s a lot of great things to be thankful for.

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Christmas in College

It’s December, you’re in college, the last thing you want to think about is celebrating Christmas. There are exams to study for, papers to write, group projects to suffer through… who has time to think about the holidays?

Look, as much as I hate to say it, but the busy end-of-semester rush doesn’t delay the passing of time. Christmas will continue to get closer, and if you happen to have a late semester (like I did this year), it’ll be upon you almost as soon as you’re home for the holidays.

It’s hard to celebrate Christmas in college, but fortunately there are some ways you can still have holiday cheer while passing all of your exams.

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