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 1)

Most book bloggers like to start off the year with lists of books they want to read in the coming months. But not on Maggie’s Musings. Nope, here we talk about all of the books I don’t want to read in the new year.

I’ve sort of accidentally made a tradition of doing a purge of my “to-be-read” (TBR) books every two years – I did it for the first time in 2017 (read Part 1 and Part 2) and then again in 2019 (Part 1 and Part 2), and now it’s 2021, so I guess it’s time to dust off the old TBR list again.

But before I begin, I did want to mention three books that got kicked out automatically because they already survived one round of this and I still didn’t read them: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan (2017 Part 1), Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (2017 Part 2), and Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (2019 Part 1). A few other old ones are still around, but they’re on thin ice.

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Why I’m Not Blogging About My Goals This Year

Almost since the time I first started blogging, I’ve made a habit of kicking off each new year with a post about goals. I would look at how I did in meeting or making progress towards my goals for the previous year, and then I would look ahead and set some goals for the new year.

I’m not doing that this year.

You see, the past year (and the last few months in particular) have given me a lot of time to think about goals. And I think I’ve come to the conclusion that not just setting them, but also sharing them and assessing myself publicly is a recipe for disaster for me.

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2020: Year In Review

Well friends, here we are.

I know the new year doesn’t really mean anything – changing the year from 2020 to 2021 won’t magically make all of our problems go away. I gotta say though, it is nice to hang up a new calendar on the wall, to start a new bullet journal, and at least symbolically put the last year behind us.

I don’t want to diminish the hardships and tragedies that everyone endured this past year, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for the good things that happened this year. We can all grieve and still remember the moments that made us smile, too.

So, as is tradition, here is my Year in Review for 2020!

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October 2020 | Month In Review

You know, I’ve been writing these “life update” posts for quite a while now, and I think I’m starting to run out of interesting things to say at the beginning of them. Maybe I should start sharing fun facts instead? I don’t have anything this time, but stay tuned for next month and maybe I’ll have something interesting to share.

Anyways, I wrote two blog posts this month, so make sure you check those out if you missed them!

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NaNoWriMo and Starting Fresh | Writer’s Life

2020 has been one of my most sporadic years for blogging and writing, despite the fact that I had some pretty big dreams when the year began. With my college graduation on the horizon, I was looking forward to having more time to dive into many of the projects I’d started over the years.

As you may have noticed, things didn’t quite go as planned.

I’ve talked before about breaking my own rules when it comes to blogging and the need to take a break from writing sometimes, so I won’t rehash it here. Long story short: deadlines and goals are good, but giving yourself grace is important too. (And who hasn’t needed some grace in 2020?)

I’ve gotten to the point where I can usually tell when I’m getting burned out – I get bored. Projects and hobbies that, at first, felt exciting and new to me lose their shininess. As I’ve said before, sometimes you have to push through – in other words, dig deep and rediscover what made you fall in love with that project or hobby in the first place. Sometimes you need to step away entirely until you can look at it with fresh eyes.

Other times, though, you need to find a middle ground.

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