March 2021 | Month in Review

I have a confession to make: you know how I usually keep a bullet journal to remember things that I do each month? Yeah, I haven’t been so great about keeping up with that the last couple of weeks. So if I miss a couple of things in my March wrap-up, that’s why.

I also have next to no concept of time anymore, so there’s that too.

ANYWAY, March was actually a pretty great month, because it’s spring now and there’s finally some green things (I think it’s called grass?) outside and the weather has been above freezing, so I’m very pleased about that.

And in case you missed it, this month’s blog posts were about:

Click below to hear the rest of my updates from March!

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Writing Character Introductions (Featuring Project Quest)

There’s a lot of things I have a hard time with in writing (see: everything having to do with writing), but starting often poses a big challenge. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to create a memorable first impression, whether it’s the beginning of a scene, the first lines of a book, or introducing a brand-new character to the story.

The moment you introduce your main character(s) to your reader can make or break your story. No pressure, right?

I don’t have any advice to share today, but I was thinking about some of the character introductions I’ve written, why I chose to introduce them that way, and I thought it would be fun to share some from one of my works in progress, Project Quest. Bear in mind that these are still drafts, so it’s probably not my best work… but hey, we all have to start somewhere.

(Also, if this is your first time hearing about Project Quest, visit its page on my blog to learn more!)

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5 Free and Useful Tools for Writing Fantasy

All genres of writing come with unique challenges, but fantasy writing (and speculative fiction in general) usually involves a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Regardless of the subgenre you’re writing, there are plenty of times you need to rely entirely on your imagination. What are you going to call your squirrel-racoon-pigeon mutant hybrids that are terrorizing New York City?

Look, I’ve been there. Over the years that I’ve been working on Project Quest, I’ve found several useful online tools that have helped me generate ideas, visualize, and keep track of things in my fantasy universe. So whether you need a map of an alien planet, a timeline of world history, or you just need character names for your next D&D campaign, these tools can help you out.

In the interest of sharing things that are both useful and accessible, this list only includes tools that are either entirely free (ad-supported, etc.) or have a “free version” that allows use of all key features without additional payment.

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February 2021 | Month in Review

The shortest month of the year has come and gone, and wow did it seem to go by quickly. But hey, hooray for another mostly successful month a blogging! This month, I wrote about:

Read on for the rest of the month’s updates!

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Gotta Catch… Some of ‘Em | 25 Pokémon for 25 Years

“But Maggie, didn’t you write a post listing things from a video game franchise last week?”

I sure did! And I’m going to do it again!

You see, not only did The Legend of Zelda turn 35 in the last few weeks, Pokémon, another franchise near and dear to my heart, also celebrated its 25th anniversary the other day. The Pokémon Company (TCPi) released a delightful retrospective video as part of their celebration:

Anyway, more to the point, Pokémon was my first “real” video game, and it’s a franchise I have a lot of fond memories of, from battling against my neighborhood friends to hunting rare creatures on my college campus in Pokémon Go.

With nearly 900 of these cartoon creatures in existence, it seems nearly impossible to narrow it down to my top 25 favorite, but I’m gonna try it anyway.

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Top 10 The Legend of Zelda Memories

This is but one of the legends of which the people speak…

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

I’m not quite old enough to remember when the first The Legend of Zelda game was released, but I still have many fond memories of the series. The Legend of Zelda series was one of the first video games that really showed me how much adventure and story could be packed into one “little” game. No matter which game I played, there was always something new to explore, and I fell in love with the each game’s world and its characters.

Yesterday (February 21, 2021) marked the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda franchise. Nintendo’s popular adventure series made its debut in 1986 on the Famicom in Japan, before coming to the United States a year later on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In celebration, I’ve collected a list of my favorite Zelda-related memories to share, in no particular order.

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Writing Unforgettable Finales (Featuring Avatar: The Last Airbender and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)

We talk a lot about first impressions in our day-to-day lives. You want to make a good first impression when you meet new people, or when you go for a job interview. The same goes for stories – you want your first chapter, first scene, or first episode to be a good one so that your audience is interested in seeing more.

What I think is less talked about is the importance of final impressions. They are just as, if not even more important than a first impression. A bad opening might scare your audience away, but a bad finale can ruin all of the work you’ve done so far. A poorly-written ending will live on forever as a disappointment in the minds of fans – especially in the age of the internet.

But how do you write a satisfying finale? And I mean satisfying – not necessarily “happy” – an ending that will leave your audience feeling like they just had a full serving of their favorite meal.

Today, I’m looking at two of my favorite TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (you’ll forgive me if I use acronyms for the rest of the post). Not only is each series consistently good throughout its run, but they also both end on what I feel is a satisfying note.

I’ve talked about both series before in passing, but since we’re talking about finales, it’s important that you understand each story’s premise as well. BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

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January 2021 | Month in Review

Congratulations, we’ve made it through the first month of the year! I hope your January was good. Mine wasn’t very exciting, but you know what? We all could use some time like that.

I finally got back into writing my regular blog posts again this month (yay!)

I’m also trying something a little different with how I lay out my monthly wrap-up this time, so 1) hopefully it all goes okay, and 2) let me know what you think in the comments!

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DIY Bookish Figurines Part 2 (Featuring Criminals and Thieves)

Approximately a thousand years ago in June 2020, I wrote a blog post about a new hobby I started during the quarantine: creating Funko Pop figurines inspired by my favorite book characters. My first project was June and Day, the protagonists of one of my all-time favorite books, Legend by Marie Lu. In that post, I talked about my research, the tools I used, the sources that inspired me, and the process behind each figurine.

When I finally finished those first two figurines, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I was pleased with how they’d turned out, especially for a first attempt, and I was already looking forward to the next project I’d be working on.

So, naturally, since I’m an overachiever, my next project was much more ambitious: the six main characters from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology.

Since I’ve already gotten into the nitty gritty of my creation process in my first post, I’m going to spend this one focusing more on each character and the choices and challenges for each one. Without further ado, here they all are, in order of creation.

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The Great TBR Purge: Revenge of the TBR (Part 2)

Last week, I kicked off the new year by trying to clean out my incredibly long to-be-read list. Out of the 10 books I shared, I only 5 of them survived. I have to admit though, I’m already starting to second-guess myself on a few of them…

Anyway, I’ve got another group of 10 books to weed through this week, so without further ado, let’s get started!

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