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The Year of Final Fantasy

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about THIS ARTICLE by Aidan Moher. I think it resonates with me because it echoes my own path into nerd-dom and ultimately to becoming a writer.
I didn’t read much of the Canon sci-fi and fantasy growing up. I loved Fantasy and Science Fiction movies and TV, but by the time I could pick my own books from the library, I was already reading thrillers and bestsellers. Once I reached high school I started really getting into anime, and my real nerdy gateway drug: JRPGs.
I didn’t have much of a game collection as a kid. We had an NES, and a much-loved game boy. What I did have was a burning jealousy of my friends’ adventures, starting from Dragon Quest and moving straight through Final Fantasy VII. I would hang out with them as they traversed huge worlds and fought monsters and robots in weird, strategy combat that seemed strange and wonderful to me.
So When my family got a computer, a friend gave me a floppy disc full of NES roms. I knew just where I wanted to start: With the original NES Final Fantasy and its two Japan-only sequels. True, the graphics weren’t as sharp as a PS1’s, and there wasn’t anything so eye-popping as watching Sephiroth descend from the sky to assassinate Aerith, (spoiler alert!) but the illicit glee of knowing that these were lost relics. These were a pair of games that had never (at the time) reached American shores, been digitally smuggled out and translated in the dark corners of the internet. It started an obsession, and I had to play more of them. I burned through the NES library of Dragon Warrior games, and played through Final Fantasy Legend and Pokemon on Game Boy. I sought out roms of stranger provience, and as the technology improved, upgraded from Nesticle, the most Nineties name for an emulator, to SNES9x. I burned through Final Fantasy IV: Hardtype like it was a fever, and got every ending in Chrono Trigger. I fought the Sinestriasl in Lufia and remade the world in Actraiser. I was full-on obsessed.
And that obsession pushed me to seek out other avenues to explore my geekery. Dungeons and Dragons, and other table top games, cheesy 80’s fantasy movies, and thick tomes of epic fantasy, both classic, and best forgotten. It was all great, but there was irritation there, things I saw on the page and screen that didn’t quite match the things I loved about the digital versions. Eventually, I picked up my pen and started writing my own stories, borne out of my own need to fill in the gaps.
It’s the distant future year 2020. And it’s a good time to look back as well as forward. So this year, I’ve decided to go back and play as much Final Fantasy as my time allows, and to write about it here. I’ve reviewed and written about a few of these games on my blog before, but this is something a bit deeper. I’m not sure what the final forms will be, probably a mixture of critical essays, reviews, creative non-fiction, and other strange beasts. Will my love of these early games still be there? Do these games hold up in 2020? Have things gotten better, or will I simply become an old fogey, complaining that these blasted kids with their three-dee graphics and full voice acting won’t get off my dang lawn? Will I discover hidden truths, or just some misplaced nostalgia that doesn’t bear anything to who I am as a writer today? Let’s find out.
As ever, the Crystals shed their light silently, waiting for us to embark on our adventure.

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Everyday Drabbles #206 – Rope Trick

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The rope hung before him, suspended in the air in defiance of logic and gravity. It stretched as far up as he could see, into the blue haze.
He gave it a few experimental tugs, gently at first, then harder. It held.
Overcome by curiosity, he climbed up the rope. He climbed for hours, until, exhausted, he reached the end of his rope and found himself back where he’d started.
He eased himself off the rope and onto solid ground. He was home. Or was he? He took a few minutes to rest, then set out to explore once again.

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Everyday Drabbles #205: The Dance

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“You’re leaving tomorrow,” he whispered in her ear, as they waltzed across the cavernous dance floor. His breath was warm, and sweet. She craned her neck away.
“I have to go back to work,” she said, not unkindly. It was an old argument.
“But, for six months. I miss you.”
“You could come with me,” she offered, not for the first time.
“I have my job, too. Can you imagine if I abandoned it?”
“Then we have tonight,” she said.
“We always have tonight,” he agreed.
And Hades and Persephone waltzed through their palace once again for one last time.

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Turning the Page: 2019 and 2020

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2019 was a pretty up and down year for me. I made a lot of personal goals, but also felt like I didn’t make much actual progress. I had a lot of uncertainly, but also a lot of success at my day job. I took an amazing trip to Ireland.
But let’s look at my actual goals for the year before the Page of Awesome resets for 2020.

Podcasts: 24/75.
In the end, I just don’t have as much time to podcast as I expected this time last year. I had planned to launch some new podcasts, but didn’t have much success. Still, I managed about two episodes of Nostalgia Pilots a month, and as we move into 2020, I am pleased with what we put out.
Short Fiction Submissions: 50/50. New short fiction: 5/10. Published short fiction: 1
Wattpad posts: 200/365
eBooks: 1/?
While I didn’t get quite as much writing done this year as I’d have liked, I made my goal on submissions, sending the last one out in the afternoon on New Years Eve. That particular story had been sitting in various editing piles for the last three years, and it was such a huge relief to finally get it out into the world, or at least into the hands of an editor.
My other big writing project was “Everyday Drabbles” and while I didn’t write every single day, I learned a lot about my own process and also learned that Wattpad has a strict 200-chapter limit. I’m continuing the project going in to 2020, with a few modifications. A qualified success.
Blog Posts: 150/150.
I made this goal this year, again, just under the wire. However, I didn’t make most of my goals for specific categories of posts.

So what are my goals for next year?
Steno Practice: 500 hours.
My day job situation this year taught me that I need more stability. And the only way I’m going to do that is prioritizing study and practice in the new year.
Write every day (300 days).
Edit every day (300 days).
It’s important to know that I’m not always going to succeed. Some days will just be too busy, or I’ll not be up for writing. I’m going to set specific goals for wordcounts and editing time month by month, but my goal is to build good writing habits this year.
Short story submission: 60. New short stories: 6 New Freelance Hunters stories: 6.
This year I made 50 story submission. Perhaps they were a bit scattershot, as I only made a few sales. But if I’m going to be writing and editing every day, I should be able to submit a new short story to markets every other month. I also have a bunch more Freelance Hunters shorts sitting in my editing drawer. When I’m not working on new stories, I’ll be working on them.
Nostalgia Pilots podcast episodes: 25
Everyday Drabbles audio podcasts: 50
I’d like keep up the schedule of putting out a new Nostalgia Pilots episode every other week this year. I can’t really audio edit more than that with my other jobs and commitments. This also fits with how often the four of us can get together to record.
Since I’m moving Everyday Drabbles away from Wattpad and onto my blog, I want to do something a little special to replace the Sunday Fiction post. I played with doing audio versions of my favorites during December, but had to step away due to holiday and end-of-year business. But I’m coming back to it in 2020.
Blog Posts: 400
Everyday Drabbles and other fiction posts: 250
Hugh Likes Review Posts: 50
Podcast reposts: 50
Other posts: 50
This is a pretty ambitious blog schedule, but discounting the Everyday Drabbles posts, it’s pretty doable, I think. The challenging part will be the ‘other’ posts. I’m going to try and write more personal blog posts and non-fiction writing on my blog this year. It’s not a kind of writing I’m very comfortable with, and I’d like to get better at it.
Other Goals:
1 or 2 self-published books.
1 Novel-length manuscript ready for agents.
Visit & Network at 3 conventions.

These are my goals for 2020. What are you planning for the next year?

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Everyday Drabbles: Love and Rockets

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When she began studying engineering, the mean girls started joking that she was going to build herself a boyfriend. At first, she ignored them, but the more she learned, and the more she worked, the less implausible the idea seemed.
She built the prototype, and installed a contained artificial intelligence she got inline. It was important that he be able to make his own decisions, to be able to surprise her.
The whole school was shocked when she showed up to prom on the arm of the perfect hunk. It was awesome.
Until he dumped her for that skank, Becky.

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Podcast: CCR60 – The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, light the lamp, not the rat

Click HERE to listen to the podcast!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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Everyday Drabbles: Snowball Festival

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When the first snows fell on the high mountains, the villagers living in the valley prepared for the Snowball Festival. They built ramps and barriers along the lower slopes of the mountain, and moved vulnerable people to second and third-story shelters.
Then they held their collective breath and waited.
In the towns at the top of the high mountains, when the first snows fell, the people frolicked in the wintry weather. They threw snowballs and built snowmen and never spared a thought for the snowballs that rolled down the mountain, growing and growing until they hit the village below.

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