star_ocean_fan: (Default)
It's the middle of the week, things are still the same on the work front, but the writing front is still taking a beating.

I think sometime this weekend, I'm going to post convention listings, not just for the U.S., but Canada, the U.K., Europe, and Japan (if I can find any - animecons.com isn't showing any just yet). I'm also aiming to hammer out some details as to which conventions I'll be at this year so if any of my fellow Star Ocean fans want to meet up, they can let me know. Granted, it won't be until August for me to get out there, but I'm going to see what I can do. I'll also include whether or not I'll be cosplaying for any of those events and which cosplays will be in rotation. Note: Figure that, once I start cosplaying, my Fayt Leingod cosplay will be a definite for me for some time to come. My dream is to cosplay him every Saturday for each event, be it in his original outfit or in one of the variants I create for fanfiction purposes.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday. The weekend is almost here!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
As the subject line says, I'm making some adjustments. It isn't that I want to do this. It's that I'm still not getting the balancing act figured out yet between journaling, writing, and work. I'm not complaining that I'm working. I love that I am . . . I'm complaining about not getting up when I want to because I'm tired. I may have to trick myself after today. :)

Anyway, here is the deal. Come hell or high water, I will be posting Roger's Ask the Star Ocean Character segment this month. I hate to do it, but I haven't had a chance to ask people in other places yet . . . Adray's segment will be postponed until March 31st, 2013. I don't want to do this, but, given how busy I've been during the week, it's something I need to do in order to give others a chance to submit questions and the like.

Now with that, I want to mention cosplay.

I previously noted that I am accepting submissions for a variety of fan-related projects - fiction, art work, poetry, cosplay, plushies, etc . . . The rules for this were posted in the previous entry. What I would like to do is, at least once a month, post a cosplay corner. The frequency in which I post the cosplay corner will depend upon how many photos I get. There is no deadline for anyone to submit anything when it comes to cosplay (or other fan-projects; just holidays and birthdays). Submit the pictures whenever you want and as many as you want. If you attended a convention and want to report on the doings of that, my only requirement is that it's well-written. Unless you specifically ask me to do so, I will not proofread it as I am very short on time in the hours before and after work. Until I can start tricking myself into getting up earlier.

And that concludes the adjustments I'm making for this blog. Have a few other new projects in mind, but we'll see how everything goes in the next few weeks.

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Merchandise and Personal Cosplay Update

One thing that I was looking forward to with landing a job was resuming my searching and purchasing of Star Ocean merchandise, both official and unofficial (doujinshi falls under unofficial). Yesterday, I surfed through eBay, found a few things to save in my watch list. Right now, it's a matter of getting enough saved and deciding what I want to get first. It's also being smart about my money, too.

Also, I'm gearing up for my Edge Maverick, Fayt Leingod and Luther Lansfeld cosplays. Luther will definitely take me a lot longer than what either Edge or Fayt will - I have PVC figures of Fayt and one of Edge as well as the strategy guides for Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. I have a handful of screenshots for Luther. I know which is more beneficial for me in getting everything I need. (I'm also gearing up for another cosplay for another fandom, too. That one is going to be just as fun.) Right now, for Luther and Edge, it's finding the right wig that I can interchange between both of them.

Note: I do plan on creating variants for established characters. It will be fun.

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Convention Update

So my plans this year for conventions were to attend ShutoCon, which is in Lansing, Michigan, Otakon, and YoumaCon, which is in Detroit. It looks like ShutoCon is out. It's coming up in April, and I may be working that weekend. I would have to double-check when I get to work. I may supplement with NMACon to make up for ShutoCon. It just depends on what my finances will allow me to do for the interim. Otakon, however, is the big one that I really want to attend.

I will keep my fellow Star Ocean fans updated on the whole convention thing and whether or not I'll be cosplaying.

This concludes everything for today. Happy Hump Day, everyone. Tomorrow, I will be getting to the last question I asked. If you're just tuning into the Star Ocean Universe, here it is once more:

Question: What are Luther's true motivations for trying to destroy the Eternal Sphere?

Friday and Saturday look very iffy on the posting fronts. We'll see what happens.

Until the next time!

Whew!

Feb. 20th, 2013 10:51 am
star_ocean_fan: (manga Fayt Leingod)
Well, it's been one interesting week after another since I've started working. Right now, it's a matter of keeping warm and keeping busy. Thankfully, the job helps with both for about eight hours during the day. Going in on my second week, and I'm still trying to find the balance for this, for writing, and for work. The job, naturally, is trumping everything else. I will get this worked out!

In the meantime, I'm still taking questions for Adray Lasbard. Limit three questions per person, no profanity. All questions must be submitted no later than midnight of February 25th, 2013. They can be submitted via comment, PM, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com).

Also, here is the birthday and holiday reminder list:

Birthday Reminders

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler

February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley
March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

Upcoming Holidays:

New Year's Day - January 1
Valentine's Day - February 14

St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

As of right now, I will be hosting a make-up day for birthdays and holidays. You can submit the birthday and holiday themed stories for the listed holidays.

Regarding: Fanfiction, Fan Art, Fan Poetry, Cosplay, Fan projects

I really don't have very many rules regarding what I'll accept for fan-related material. It does have to be well-written. I won't just post whatever happens to come my way for any of this. This is an open journal. You do not need to be a follower in order to read or comment on what I'm writing. I would very much like to keep it this way because one never knows when a fourteen-year-old might become smitten with Star Ocean.

So here are the rules for submitting fan-related material like fiction, art work, cosplay, and other projects.

1 - No smut. Period.
When it comes to art and photography, no nudity. There are sites out there already dedicated for such themes.

2 - All pairings are accepted.
I don't care if it's a pairing I don't like or that I can't see for whatever reason is in my head. If you've taken the time to write it or draw it, I will post it. That means I will accept heterosexual pairings (Edge x Reimi), xeno pairings (i.e., Edge x Myuria), yaoi pairings (Luther x Fayt), and yuri pairings (Maria x Sophia).

3 - No character-bashing.
This is a little . . . sticky. Yes, you can portray Fayt or Edge or whoever as an S.O.B. - providing there's a reason for the behavior. If you're just doing it because you don't like the character, well, take it to a different site. I have goals in mind for this journal. I'm not about to risk those goals for someone who just wants to be a jerk about a character s/he doesn't like. Remember that people do have their likes and dislikes.

4 - As was mentioned above, all stories must be well-written.
By that, I mean you've taken the time to craft your story. There are no errors in spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure. I don't care if it's just fanfiction. Seriously, just because it's fanfiction does not change the reasons for why people read. Just because it's free for everyone to read (meaning you're not charging them to read it and thus you're not being paid to write it) doesn't mean you should skimp out on the technical parts of writing. Write like you care, or I will throw my pocket grammar guide at you.

5 - Themes/Genres and Crossovers
I will, for the most part, accept nearly every single theme that there is. If it's an alternate universe story, I'll accept it. If it crosses with another fandom, I'll accept it. If you're crossing Till the End of Time with First Departure somehow, I'll accept it.

Now, there are some themes out there that do venture into the adult/mature audience category that I will accept as well. Anything with graphic sex just isn't in that area. Tackling current social themes (bullying, body image issues, etc . . .) are definitely accepted.

6 - Cosplay
I definitely would love, love, LOVE it if people submitted their cosplay pictures to me. They can be from conventions or personal photo shoots. It's all cool. If anyone does the how-to as the cosplay is created, definitely would love to share those, too.

Most importantly, to me, is that people are having fun and sharing the love for Star Ocean. That's what this is about - bringing fellow Star Ocean fans together. I will definitely let everyone know when I'm posting their works.

One more thing - no personal attacks, no being mean to the author/artist/cosplayer for any submissions. Be respectful of each other at all times. As of this moment in time, we are not a very large fandom when compared to the likes of Hetalia: Axis Powers or the Final Fantasy series. We don't have to like a particular character or a particular pairing or even a particular Star Ocean game, but we must remember that there will always be someone out there who does. Disrespectful attitudes will certainly not be tolerated.

And that's it for today. I have about an hour left before I need to get ready for work. Hope everyone is having a very good Hump Day!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Fanfic Writing Tip #10 - Writing Effective Songfic and Using Lyrics in Your Stories

I want to start by saying that I am not against someone writing a songfic, a story with the same name and with the lyrics throughout the story, or using song lyrics in a story. One of my first stories is a songfic, and it's one that I consider to be among my best stories. I still like to write songfic and to use lyrics in my stories, all because it's an added effect to the story I'm writing. Get the right song for the right mood and the right theme for the story you're writing, and you will have a very powerful piece that will move the reader on levels they didn't even realize existed.

There is some etiquette involved with writing songfics and using song lyrics in a story, some dos and don'ts that can either make or break your story for the reader. Some can also get your account deleted.

In order to keep your account from being deleted on a particular website, read the site's Terms of Service very carefully. Some fanfiction sites do not allow song lyrics in stories, unless they are your own. Period. It doesn't stop people from posting their stories, however, so, if you choose to violate the site's ToS on song lyrics, do so at your own risk.

Some sites don't follow the "No Song Lyrics" allowed rule. They do, however, restrict the amount of lyrics used. There has to be a certain amount of story for each line of lyric in it. Because of this, I advise that the writer read the Terms of Service for each site s/he uses for posting fanfiction.

Now with the site restrictions out of the way, there are a few other things authors should keep in mind when using song lyrics in a story.

1 - Disclaimer and Credit!!! Not all songs are in the public domain, i.e., they can be posted anywhere at any given time (think of the many Christmas songs you used to sing in elementary school for Christmas programs). Most of the songs I've seen used (and have used myself) are copyrighted. If you've ever looked in a CD liner with lyrics, you might see "reprinted with permission" somewhere. Because of this, make sure your readers know that you don't own the song lyrics you're using and credit the band or singer, along with the album it can be found on, performed the song.

2 - There are a few different ways to utilize a song for a story, especially if the story is based around it. Watch how you use the song in question. Beginning authors might not realize it, but there is a correct and incorrect way to use a song.

For example, I love this song called "Invisible Boyfriend" by a band out of New Orleans called the Continental Drifters. It's a very sad and haunting song. To utilize the lyrics for the story, to title the story after the song itself, I would do this:

Line 1 of a verse
Line 2 of the same verse
Line 3 of the same verse
Line 4 of the same verse
--- Invisible Boyfriend, Continental Drifters, Continental Drifters (1995)

(Story section based on the verse)

That gets the song out there, gives the reader an idea of what the segment is about before I repeat the process for the next segment (or what would be a PoV change if you're using more than one PoV)

Now, if the character is listening to a song, and there's a current mood about that character in that tender, happy, or sad moment, a snippet of lyrics isn't a bad way to go. A line here, a line there are more than sufficient to add to the mood, to create the effect. To make sure people know who sang what, I write in an author's note, often at the end of the story (or at the beginning - depends on where I'm trying to convey mood or indicate what I'm listening to when I write a segment or a chapter) so the reader can then find the song. (When I started writing fanfiction in 2000, I uploaded CDs to my computer. This was before iTunes and youtube.)

The biggest mistake I've seen when people try to use song lyrics is that they overload the story with an entire song. This is a big no-no. One, it takes up more space than it needs to and that can be dedicated to story. Two, it overwhelms the reader who isn't reading the piece for the song but for the story itself. It's cool to share a song that you love. After all, there are plenty of good songs out there that deserve more love than what they may or may not receive. It isn't cool to overwhelm your readers with your favorite songs. As an author, your ultimate goal should be to tell a story effectively without taking up space for song lyrics. If someone points that out to you, it is for good reason. If you've ever felt cheated on a story because an author has done that, then please keep that in mind when writing songfic and using song lyrics yourself. Readers don't like to be cheated out of story.

Next week's writing tip: Asking for Critiques Before Posting - Writer to Writer Etiquette

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Conversation Topic - Power Hungry Characters of Till the End of Time

As with any game, there is always one or two characters that want more than what they already have. They're always grasping, reaching, and doing whatever they can to have more - more land, more money, more weapons, more power - and it's often without regard for who gets trampled along the way.

In Till the End of Time, there are three characters that I would classify as power hungry. No. Luther Lansfeld is not on this list. He probably should be on it, but he has his reasons for doing what he's done. I don't see him so much as power hungry as I do extreme OCD and control freak. He's already at the highest level of power in the game. He's the Creator. He's God.

First on this list, naturally, is Norton. Yes. Norton. Remember him? He was the first boss players fought on Vanguard III, the one who if you were leveled up high enough, didn't last five minutes. He didn't get much air time and you don't see him again until after you've defeated Luther and start wandering through the locked levels of Sphere 211.

Norton is definitely a power hungry character. He wants to turn his little area of Vanguard III into a kingdom. Anyone who stands up to him, who doesn't do as he wishes, dies. His mistreatment of the villages of Whipple leads them to mistrust Fayt when he first arrives.

Second on this list is Duke Vox, Captain of the Dragon Brigade. He, too, is a power hungry character who might not have stopped at his current rank if he had not died an untimely death. There isn't much of a backstory for his ascent to power unless the player recruits Albel before the fight with Crosell instead of the default of Nel. Upon recruiting Albel over Nel, taking him to the four dimensional realm opens up the ability to obtain a legendary sword called the Crimson Scourge.

Vox tried to wield the sword after he set up Albel for the Flame of Ascension when he was too young. Albel fans know that it was his father, Glou Nox, who saved him from certain death, but the right of passage left Albel physically and emotionally scarred. Vox himself is driven to the point of madness because he tried to claim the Crimson Scourge for himself.

He knew no bounds in his quest for power, either. Vox helped to start the war between Aquaria and Airyglyph by spreading the lie that the followers of Apris wanted to assassinate the king. Innocent people were tortured and killed because of that lie.

Finally, I come to the third person on this list, and that honor goes to Belzeber, of the four dimensional realm. Born into a powerful family and the son of the original owner of Sphere 211, Belzeber has a very strong sense of entitlement. He is not happy that, upon his father's retirement/handing over power of the company to Luther. While he doesn't care about the company itself or the gaming world of the Eternal Sphere, Belzeber thinks and feels that all of it should be his and his alone.

Belzeber is also the kind who doesn't care who he hurts along the way in order to get what he wants. He's willing to kill Blair, someone he's known for a very long time, because the Owner has decreed it. If he's willing to go that far on someone else's order, just how far would he go to try and usurp Luther from his position of power?

I'm sure that there are other characters in Till the End of Time that others think are power hungry. I encourage everyone to give me their thoughts on them. (For this entry, please keep the power hungry character comments to Till the End of Time. I will write on the other games for power hungry characters so comments for them.)

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Convention/Cosplay Talk - To Go Alone or Join a Group?

When it comes to convention and cosplay, some people may find themselves asking whether or not if they should go alone, fly solo as it were, or if they should meet up with others for a cosplay group. This isn't exactly an easy question to answer when it comes to conventions and cosplay. Traveling in a group to the convention site is actually quite economical - the people in the car, truck, or van help pay for gas and thus save on gas - but it isn't always possible. If you can arrange a travel group, by all means, do it.

As for cosplay, this is where I say do both. Gather a group for one day, fly solo for another . . . have fun with it. If none of your friends are going to the conventions, find other people to hook up with for cosplay groups. There are many clubs on this site, deviantart, and, of course, one can always use facebook.

star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
I apologize for that. I've had a lot on my mind lately, most of it centering on writing original material, some health issues, and searching for work. I don't like being limited to talking about two games for Star Ocean when there are four major games and one side game (Blue Sphere for the Gameboy). Oddly enough, for me to be able to talk about the first two games (and possibly Blue Sphere), to start on the cosplay, ball-joined doll, and crafts I want to do, collect the merchandise and doujinshi . . .  all of this requires money, of which I have very little right now.

So some updates on me:

1 - I'm obviously still broke so that takes YoumaCon out of the picture for me this year and possibly Anime Apocalypse in December. Anime Apocalypse is going to be on a "maybe" list - it depends on what happens between now and the first of December in terms of a cash flow. I really do want to get back into the convention circuits so I can meet new people and catch up with friends. However, the lack of cash coming in is hindering that, and there are some other things taking priority over heading out to conventions. That could be changing soon. I received a phone call for a job interview today so I'm crossing my fingers!

2 - Health status: I'm still alive, still relatively healthy. I just now have to watch my caffeine intake and take a water pill due to my blood pressure running on the high side. I really should start taking my healthy living cues from Fayt. He's such a healthy, albeit fictional character. I think we could learn a thing or two from some of our favorite characters . . .

3 - There has been some tragedy in my family. I'm not going into details about it. Just know it was a sad time for one of my family members, and it's the kind of thing I don't ever wish on anyone.

4 - Writing progress is questionable. It depends on the story. That could change, depending on how the job interview for tomorrow goes. Yes. I am crossing my fingers that this pans out for me. The heavens above know I could use something to keep myself going. (Not working sucks. I realize I'm looking at a minimum wage job, but I don't care. Work is work.)

Beyond that, not much is new. I have no other reasons for not updating this journal regularly.

So onward with the entry! 

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Writing Conversation - What Would Everyone Dress Up as For Halloween? Part One

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday of Halloween, I'll be writing a four-part series on what I think the humans of the Star Ocean universe would dress up as to go trick-or-treating. Some of it will be guesswork, since I still haven't played First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution, but I will pose the question to Kojika, who has played the games. If you have thoughts, please feel free to leave me a comment on what you think and why.

First of all, I'd like to say that, on the subject of Halloween, it is a holiday I think would survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It's something that, by this point in time, people will have celebrated for at least a century and more than a few decades. It would bring about a sense of normalcy after such a great deal of catastrophic destruction. Whether people would remember why the holiday is celebrated is another subject entirely.

To start, I'll be writing in the series' timeline chronological order, not in publishing chronological order. (This gives me something to actually start with since I'm familiar with the characters of The Last Hope.)

Halloween would be, in the future, like it is now - a fun time of the year that signifies change and is one of the few times where it's socially acceptable to dress up as something else. (Conventions are excluded because not all people believe it's okay to dress up for such a thing. I know a couple of people who are like that. Only the dedicated dress up year-round.) It would also be the one time of the year where people could forget about their troubles.

Since they grew up together, it isn't hard to imagine Crowe, Edge, and Reimi along with her brother trick-or-treating as a group. What would be interesting to see is if they would be coordinated in their costumes. Would Reimi insist upon a theme or would they be random? I can't see Crowe and Edge (mostly Edge) always agreeing to be what Reimi wants them to be for Halloween.

And just what do I think Reimi would want to dress up as for Halloween? A couple of costumes come to mind. If any of the Disney movies are still available, I can see Reimi wanting to be one of the many princesses, from Snow White to Ariel, from Aurora to Belle, and everyone else who she would see as beautiful, strong, independent, and pure. (Remember fellow fans, she thinks she's a monster because she knows what she is.) If not a Disney princess, then a fairy tale princess of some kind. Anything that would make her feel beautiful about herself, albeit if only temporarily.

Heading down the non-princess route, there are also the bride, bridesmaid, flower girl, housewife, chef, and maybe a delicate fairy or a ballerina. Reimi is quite the girl - feminine, pink, frilly, cute - and, as I said before, it would come down to her wanting to feel beautiful about herself. Costumes at Halloween would reflect that.

Between Edge and Crowe, I feel like Crowe would be the one more likely to accommodate Reimi in her requests for themed trick-or-treating. In my mind, it would depend on how soon he knows about being a Seed of Hope and if he knows. That's the one thing, for me, that remains up in the air, only because Crowe remained as an NPC throughout the whole game. I'm leaning towards "yes" because he's got such an excellent poker face, but it'll be unclear  and up to the player in that regard. However, I think he'd only accommodate Reimi so far based upon what he knows. Crowe is very much a leader-type character, and it would most definitely reflect in his Halloween costumes. With dreams of heading into space, that, too, would play a factor in the kinds of costumes Crowe (and Edge). Crowe definitely sees himself as some kind of a hero, but he's also quite modest about it.

Both Edge and Crowe would be Reimi's knights in the times they accommodate her for themed Halloween costumes. I can also imagine both of them dressing up as ninjas, samurai, archeologists, adventurers, pirates (what little boy doesn't want to be a pirate for Halloween? What little girl, for that matter, too?), and any kind of modern military soldier (including rank). There might be some of the cutesy stuff in there because of their parents - pumpkins, ghosts . . . typical Halloween fare - but, of the two, I think the only one who would want to dress up as something "evil", for the fun of it, would be Crowe. He's got vampire written all over him!

So what would our intrepid heroes and heroine receive as Halloween treats? Companies like Hershey's, Nestle', M&M/Mars, and Brach's are no longer in business. What would people hand out for the youngsters out and about on Halloween night? Well, if the building in Antarctica survives (it contains the seeds for all fruits and vegetables as well as herbs, grasses, and the like), I can see people giving out fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and plums. There would also be homemade caramel corn, popcorn, popcorn balls in a variety of flavors, cookies, cupcakes, and homemade candies.

As for the non-human characters, if they were to visit Earth, they wouldn't need to dress up for Halloween because everyone would think they were already in costume. The discussion for how Edge and Reimi would explain the concept of Halloween will be another entry.

Kinds of costumes and treats are definitely open to discussion. Feel free to leave me a comment on what you think.

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Writing Fanfiction Tip #7 - Write in a Logical Order And Use Logic

I recently wrote a review on a story where certain events didn't follow in a logical order. In the story, a new parent, a recently divorced dad, has moved, with his two-year-old son, to a new town. While the dad is trying to cook Ragu and pasta, the son goes outside to play, and he finds a kitten. Like a two-year-old, the boy takes the kitten back into the house, and the dad wonders where his son found the critter. This, naturally, leads to the dad asking the boy where the kitten was found and to the discovery of a dead mother cat with the rest of the litter still alive. Concerned over the kittens, the dad takes them to a local vet to find out what he needs to do in order to keep them alive. Cue the dad heading home, finishing dinner, giving his son a bath, putting the child to bed, and then heading to the pet store with the two-year-old left home alone.

This isn't a logical procession in events. Everything is okay until the dad returns home, finishes preparing dinner, and gives his child a bath so he can go to bed. It's after the child is in bed that he realizes he needs supplies for the cats in his care. Of course, my biggest problem with the procession of events is the fact a two-year-old is left unattended for at least twenty minutes as the parent rushes to the pet store with one of the kittens in tow. For someone who is a parent or who has helped to take care of young children, this is a major no-no and likely to offend and anger the person reading. It's also going to have the reader scratching his/her head, saying, "This doesn't make sense. No parent would leave a two-year-old, even sleeping, home alone. Too much can go wrong in a short amount of time". It doesn't matter if a person can be scatter-brained at times. People in real life have those moments, but I can speak with authority that a "new" parent or a single parent isn't going to leave any child under the age of 12 home alone.

And that's something a writer, any writer, must always be aware of whenever starting a story. What kind of a logical order will events take place? In the story I reviewed, for me, the logical order of events, after the trip to the vet, the dad should have gone to the pet store to get the necessary supplies, with his son in tow, after the trip to the vet or at least take his sleeping son with him when he left to get the supplies. What this tells me, as a reader and as someone who's lived with a two-year-old, that the writer of the story doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to children and the various things that can go wrong if a parent takes his eyes off his son for a scant minute. (Note: a two-year-old can drown in a bucket of water only a quarter filled in under two minutes.)

Now, it might seem mundane and more than a little nitpicky on a logical procession of events, especially over something as simple as heading to the store. Sometimes authors will try to do something that will create a conflict or add to a conflict, but it comes at the wrong point in the story or it isn't exactly true to how a person in a similar, real life situation might behave.

Here are two examples.

Character A is an experienced bank robber and is planning his next heist. Like anyone who's attempting or has attempted the same thing, he doesn't want to get caught, and he takes the necessary precautions he's always taken before. The character in question isn't going to walk into the bank, guns ablazing and then remember to put the mask on his face to conceal his identity in the middle of the crime. Yes, doing such a thing would create a problem for him, but it would be more interesting if he happened to walk into the bank for some other reason than robbery and be caught in the middle of another robbery.

Character B is a firefighter and needs to check her equipment to be sure it's functioning properly. She isn't going to gear up, run into a place that's on fire, and then stop to ask herself if she's got enough oxygen in her tank onceshe's entered a burning building.

If you've never been in a particular situation before but want to write about it, start asking questions. If you're writing about a man who's married, a parent, but is going through a divorce, ask someone who's gone through a divorce what it was like. If you're curious about police procedures, ask your local cops or utilize a search engine. Fanfiction is something that's free for anyone who has internet access to read. If you're not getting it right, you're going to lose a reader and end up with the kind of review that I left for the author of the story with the dad and the son and the new acquisition of kittens - not a very nice one.

It's just something to think about when you start writing.

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Halloween

I'm looking for Halloween photos, artwork, fanfiction, and fan poetry for display. Photos can be of Star Ocean carved pumpkins, figures with Halloween decorations, and the like. Cosplay is definitely welcome. The only requirements are the works must be themed for Halloween and must be related to Star Ocean (obviously). Fanfiction should be limited to one-shots and vignettes, but I will accept multi-chaptered stories so long as they're complete. They can be submitted to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com and I'll accept submissions until October 30th.

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Doujinshi Call Out

Looking for doujinshi titles. Pairings doesn't matter. Rating doesn't matter. I'm trying to compile a list of all Star Ocean doujinshi. Any and all help is appreciated. You can PM me, leave me a comment, or email me what you've got.

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Convention Talk - Creating Your Cosplay

Finally! The long-awaited topic of how to create your cosplay is finally here! I know. It took me long enough, didn't it?

First of all and foremost, to start with, the most obvious thing to do if you're going to create your own cosplay is pick your character. The type of character you choose, from what I've been able to discern from others, will determine the the type and costs of materials you'll need in order to create the costume. Are you choosing Sophia? Albel? Nel? Reimi? Claude? Crowe? Arumat? Bacchus?

Once you've answered that question (and, chances are, you already know this in advance), then you can answer the question of what kinds of materials do I need to buy or will I need to buy? Will I need to find a sewing pattern? Naturally, if you're going to be sewing, you'll need fabric and thread to match the color. Other materials include vinyl (or leather, though it was recommended to me to avoid leather), plastic canvas, craft foam, paint, paint brushes, sewing needles, yarn, knitting needles or a knitting loom, embroidery thread, and maybe an empty two-liter bottle. This last item is completely dependent upon which character you intend to cosplay, and everything listed is just for the outfits of the characters. If you plan on creating the weapons to go with your cosplay, you'll definitely need additional materials, i.e. wood, sand paper, maybe cardboard, and additional paint, perhaps even craft foam and plastic canvas. (Wood and cardboard are tricky to work with because, once you screw up, you have to buy more and start from scratch.)

Please remember to take caution when you're buying the materials to craft your cosplay. The overall idea is to make something that you can wear more than once and maybe outside of conventions, too. When it comes to materials, you get what you pay for in terms of quality, and I'm not talking about the vinyl or the plastic canvas. I'm talking about the fabric and thread used to create the base of the outfit. Keep an eye out for sales at your local fabrics store. Yes, for many Americans, it's cheaper to go to Wal-Mart than to some place that actually sells a larger (and decidedly more expensive) selection of fabric, but your local fabric stores do have sales. They do also offer up coupons and additional percentages off. Be smart about buying your materials. Go for quality but get it as cheaply as you can, when you can. If you plan on creating more than just one cosplay, it isn't a bad idea to stock up on materials

Now there are some things you may not or just won't be able to make. For example, let's say you're creating Albel Nox (once again). You've bought the wig and the right kind of foot wear, have the materials to sew his outfit, it's done, but you don't have the materials for his gauntlet (nor the time, the money, or maybe even the know-how to fashion them before the convention). How do you come up with that one crucial element that separates Albel from the rest of the Star Ocean gang?

You can start by checking your local boutiques for arm-length gloves either white or violet. If you can find a white pair that covers as much of your arm as needed, you can find the right color dye so that it looks appropriate. And don't forget that, for Albel and Sophia, thigh-length stockings are in order, too. Kojika, for her Claude cosplay, found moon shoes to fit her for an appropriate look.

All of this, of course, is only necessary if you plan making your own cosplay for your next convention and is what I've learned in talking with the experienced cosplayers I know (whom I'm also very proud to call my friends). If you're buying the materials so someone else can create the costume for you, talk to that person and find out what they need and how much of it so they can do just that for you. If you plan on heading to one of the many cosplay costume sights on the web, then the best advice I can give to you is to do your research on customer satisfaction. How well did the company craft the cosplay for others? Would the customers recommend the site again? Remember, it's your money that you're spending, and I guarantee that you'll have a ball at your next convention.

Next convention talk . . . to be determined.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character Call Out, Triple the Fun: Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti

Taking questions for the following characters: Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti. Questions can be submitted via PM, comment or email. The only rules are a limit of three questions per character, keep it clean and "polite", and the questions must be submitted by PM, comment, or email. I'll be taking questions until midnight of October 31, 2012.

star_ocean_fan: (Fayt Leingod)
Just a quick list of the projects I'm working on and would like to start working on for this blog.

Fanfiction:
While I have a few works in progress, the only one up for this blog right now is Destinies Intertwined by Fate. The prologue and chapters 1 and 2 are posted. Chapter 3 will be started soon.

Merchandise:
This will be a three part process.

One part of this is compiling a list of merchandise that's already available, be it official or potential bootleg, where it can be found or potentially found, who's contributed to the compilation of this, and photos to correspond with each item. Second Story/Second Evolution and Till the End of Time seem to be the biggest ones for merchandise

The second part of this will be seeking out fan-made creations, such as plushies, doujinshi, ducky bombs, t-shirts, and whatever else has come out of the minds of fans. Like me, there are some extremely and insanely creative people in the Star Ocean fandom, and I would love to showcase such talent.

The third and final part will be my personal attempts at creating things like plushies, afghans, t-shirts, and whatever else I can think of in addition to bringing the characters to life in the form of Asian ball-jointed dolls. The first two I'd love to bring home are Luther and Fayt.

Cosplay:
This will contain two parts.

The first part will be the cosplay others have done, be it in the backyard or at a convention. If I can, I'd like to find the photos of the process as well as the final product.

Second will be the cosplay I create for myself, and I'll definitely take pictures of the process as it unfolds. Right now, there are six characters from the Star Ocean fandom I wish to cosplay - Fayt Leingod, Luther Lansfeld, Mirage Kaos, Edge Maverick, Myuria Tionysus, and Sarah Jerand - plus there are other fandoms I enjoy that I'd love to create cosplays for as well.

Voice Actor Compilation and (HOPEFULLY) Interviews:
This is a bit self-explanatory. For each game, I'll be compiling a voice actor list, both the Japanese and English and the other projects in which they appear and potential convention appearances. I will NOT guarantee that I'll be able to interview any voice actor that I list, especially the Japanese. Voice actors are generally very busy people, working on more than one series at a time. Also, my Japanese is quite limited. When it comes to interviews, the absolute best that I can do is send the voice actor a request and hope that I hear back. I will also try to find out if the voice actors have official websites - it does seem like most anyone famous does (but it doesn't hurt to check)

Ask the Star Ocean Character:
This has already debuted with Reimi Saionji. Each week, a different character will be selected for an "interview" with the more popular characters like Fayt Leingod, Albel Nox, and Edge Maverick being reserved for the very end. This also gives me a chance to buy or find a PSP so I can play the first two games. I know I can read the manga (what little bit is available for the first game) and watch Star Ocean EX on youtube in addition to reading the manga, but, given the limited number of volumes available for each, it's very hard to get a feel for some of the minor characters involved in the game. For example, I could read the volumes for Second Story, but if there isn't much interaction with Ashton and his twin dragons, I don't get to know him and thus may not be able to have him interpret any questions people might like to ask.

Also, while this has already debuted with one question for Reimi, there is always the possibility that a character who has already been featured could be "asked" to return or cycle through them again once I've reached the final character. And expect to see some of the NPCs and villains, like Crowe F. Almedio, Luther Lansfeld, Stephen D. Kenny, and Deputy Director Shimada (just to name a few), appear in this. NPCs and villains help to make the games as much as the heroes, heroines, and playable characters do. Plan on this being interesting, weird, and fun.

Please note: Fanfiction and Ask The Star Ocean Character are both free for me to write. The same goes for simply browsing sites like eBay and yahoo! auctions. No one pays me to write either, and I don't get paid to write them. I also don't expect to be paid (though I won't deny it'd be  nice if someone from Square Enix contacted me about writing an official Till the End of Time novel). The merchandise and cosplay will cost me money (which I don't mind), be it when I buy something to add to my collection, the materials to make something, or to buy a doll/doll accessories. I'm also being quite broad in terms of projects because of money. As things change, when they change, I'll be able to do more in terms of the projects I've listed. In the meantime, I'll be working with what I've already got on hand.

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