Times Are Changing.

In these days of uncertainty in the world, there is one certainty left for me.

I apologize for the long absence. I’m currently taking 6 college classes (about 18 units) and I’m also about to embark on my Digital Marketing career (I plan on eventually having at least 3 different networks). But for the time being, I have 1 hour of free time right now. In truth, I’m putting aside my Anthropology 101 homework to do tomorrow instead of today. But in my defense, I’ve finished my Humanities 115 ten-page essay and I completely finished reading through my History 118 book, so technically, I created extra time to spare for this hour.

At any rate, I wanted to talk about change in terms of how it’s affecting me personally. I’ve always thought I had gone through drastic changes before, but now I realize I’ve never experienced such an emotion until these last four weeks. It’s not only that I feel different, but more over, I feel changed. Changed in a way I simply can’t describe to you.

In these days of uncertainty in the world, there is one certainty left for me.

I can see the hard work in front of me, and I don’t tremble at the thought of it. I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge, but now, I feel even more reckless and fearless. Ironically, I wonder if I’m at least scared of what’s happening to me personally. I’ve lost all sense of fear it seems. For the last four weeks, I’ve gone through some strange transformation where I simply don’t care if I fail or not.

I don’t care what others think of me, how I might face an obstacle, or even my own thoughts on life. I’ve begun to see both the beauty and horrors in life and I don’t want this experience to end. I know I just turned 24 three weeks ago, but I believe I’m already feeling a sense of my mortality. I know that might seem strange, but when I was younger, I never thought much of my life and the many possible ways I can take it.

Now, I feel ready to take on the world. I’m ready to take my life into my own hands; ready to become responsible for my very livelihood in ways I never thought of before. In some way, I had it difficult growing up. I had to raise myself essentially because my mom used to work 60 plus hours in the home-loan industry. But in other ways, I was protected by the outside world growing up.

Luckily for me, I was always a curious child.

So at a fairly young age, I was always learning all that I could from books, whether they were fiction, non-fiction, or any other arrangement of genre. I’ve always connected with people, even those who came from incredibly different backgrounds compared to me. That’s not to say I was naïve of the cruelty that some people in the world harbor inside of themselves for reasonable reasons, but more of a sense of observational understanding of their life’s many hardships and quarrels.

There are so many things I wish I could share in this one single post, but I must go now. Time is short these days, but surprisingly enough, I don’t much mind it.

I’ll leave you all with this one simple thought: in the world, gravity keeps us down. But don’t ever let life get you down.

Until then.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

Week of Mid-Terms & Spring Break

April 22nd is also my birthday!

Hello everyone, this is just a quick update to let you know that I’m still here, and that I will be putting up articles during my school’s Spring Break! (Which is from April 17th to April 22nd).

April 22nd is also my birthday!

The reasoning for this post will be made simple: I’m here to notify you of my absence for the following week (that being of April 10 – April 16). My midterms are this coming week; and also of the week April 23-29. But 3 of the 5 classes I’m taking have midterms this week (April 10 – April 16), so I’ve been preparing all of this week (which also explains the lack of articles this past week as well).

I’ll be back shortly during Spring Break to upload 1 article a day! So look out for those between April 17th to April 22nd. Until then!

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

Death of Your Character (For Writers)

Unmistakably so, the fate of one character undoubtedly alters the fate of another.

There are many interesting fates each character in a book, movie, or even video game, are faced with. From the harrowing tale of Romeo and Juliet, or that of Game of Thrones, there are so many different ways a character can become a hero, or become killed. Today, I’ll be touching on the basis of death, of how this affects your other characters whom are still amongst the living, and how each death has a lesson to be learned.

I’ll never tire of the many different creative ways authors’ create the death of their characters, whether they are main ones or side characters. To being, there are a multitude of physiological aspects to writing out a story. To create each character, to build up their very life from the ground up – takes quite a lot of energy, time, and dedication to understanding each and every single one of them.

There have been many instances where I’ve read a line that intrigued me, or garnered my attention, even more then it should have. This is solely due to the prowess a writer harbors. It’s truly remarkable how life, even in a book, can be so unpredictable. In this manner, a book harnesses the mystic secrets of life, and translates it in such an amazing way, that even a reader can be left wondering how impactful a situation truly was, and the lasting impression it has left on them for the rest of their own life.

I usually find myself contemplating the fates of my own characters at times, wondering how long each one will live in the entire span of the series I have yet to pen down completely. It both amazes me, and overwhelms me, with unspeakable emotions. Just to think about the countless possibilities, creates a whirlwind of life in me. As ironic as it may sound, the idea of death in the stories I have written, gives me an unknown rush of mystery. To contemplate whether a character will live on to see another day, or whether a character will met their demise just a couple of words away, gives me a sense of humbleness and humanness. It reminds me, that no matter who we are as people, we will always remain susceptible to both the beauties of life, but moreover, to the esoteric tragedies of life as well.

For the most part, I usually don’t kill off my main characters so easily. Of course, there will be two or three instances throughout the series when a main character dies so unexpectedly, that even the reader will be left speechless and completely floored. But for the most part, each of my character’s death has meaning, it has purpose, and it leaves the reader with more unheard questions then it does solid answers, because if we’re honest with one another – life works in this same manner. We as people are usually left with countless more questions then we are left with stable answers when someone we know dearly passes on from this life.

Unmistakably so, the fate of one character undoubtedly alters the fate of another.

There are many reasons as to why certain characters are met with death throughout the span of a story. It’s important to realize that just like in life, the death of a character holds the very same weight as a death in real life (for readers, at any rate). So you should not only be careful about who you kill in your stories, but you should moreover, have a time of grieving for each fallen character. I’ve seen at times, some characters die off with absolutely no mention after their death. It’s as if they never existed, and to some degree, real life can work in this manner as well. But as a reader, nothing turns me off more then a senseless death. Because ironically enough, even senseless killing in a story should leave a reader with the same amount of mixed emotions that a meaningful death leaves.

Every death, to a varying degree, should hold some kind of emotional scar or mark. It just doesn’t seem realistic if all emotions are voided out of a death-scene. Of course, the only true exception to this, are completely sociopathic characters. But like I sated before, even senseless killing in a book should still leave the reader in awe and disturbance. It shouldn’t feel shallow and dismissive; otherwise, you risk losing the attention of a lot of readers.

As I sign off for this day’s post, I’ll leave you all with one piece of writing advice: Never be too afraid to push the limits of your characters, for in strength, comes the possibility of a mighty and honorable death.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

Beauty and the Beast (2017, Film Review)

It was that good, to the point where I felt overwhelmed with deep emotions long forgotten.

I saw the live-action rendition of Beauty and the Beast this last Wednesday 22, 2017. I went in with little knowledge on the production for this film, so to say that I went in undermining the whole experience, would be an incredibly vast understatement. The whole film was nostalgic from the moment it began to the very ending act. Of course, with the added scenes from both the source material (and from new concepts incorporated into the film), this also added a more wholesome and completed version of the rendition.

It was so simply done, yet the magic of the film felt incredibly real. The musical numbers were astounding in there effect and it often times left the viewer completely in awe with all of the spectacularly dazzling scenes and eye-catching moments. In particular, my favorite numbers were “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston”. It was such a wind-swept journey, that I can’t imagine anyone not seeing this film.

Now, to weigh-in both the amazing pros, and the still evident cons, I will give a fair and balanced review since it’s been a couple of days since the high of this film has worn off and allowed me to see it for the entirety of its production.

To begin, Beauty and the Beast did a fantastic job of being a contemporary piece, in terms of how life was like in 18th century France. Parts of Beauty and the Beast felt almost reminiscent to the 2012 rendition of Les Misérable. Not to mention both stories take place in different parts of France. Another aspect of the film they did wonderfully was the fact that most of the actors and actresses (minus Belle) were theatrically inclined. It felt like a true harkening back of the play version of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway (starting in 1993). Possibly one of the best qualities to the movie was its astoundingly clear soundtrack over the voice-overs of the actor’s singing. At times, I truly fell into the movie realm of Beauty and the Beast, forgetting momentarily that I was even watching a motion picture. Overall, the casting (for the most part) felt incredibly perfect (even if perfect doesn’t exist).

Now to address the cons of this movie. The cons are actually few and far in-between, but they are there nevertheless. Like everything else in life, no work of art is ever without imperfections. The reason why this is – is because every single person in the world interprets the same thing completely differently, even on a small scale.

The first con is that Emma Watson was cast for the main role. Now I know what some of you are thinking as you read this: But it’s for marketing purposes, Emma Watson has an image that can appeal to the mainstream public. My gripe with this line of thinking is two-fold. The first layer, is that you are saying that the source material itself, Beauty and the Beast, and all of the history that goes along with it, wouldn’t be enough for people to go see it. Don’t forget, in this day-in-age where social media exists and the spread of news by word-of-mouth moves quickly through social spheres; this movie would have been a massive success from the start.

Not to mention the fact that this film was produced by Disney, it should be a no-brainer that this movie would have been a hit. The only purpose Disney had for adding Emma Watson in the lead role, was because they wanted to break whatever record needed breaking for the box office. So in a sense, like everything else it seems in life, this was solely for money purposes. It’s a shame because creativity almost every single time, takes a back seat in our modern culture.

The second problem is that they incorporated a “gay” theme in this movie, where it really didn’t need to be added. I have a gay older brother, and he was slightly confused by that one particular part in the movie. I’m a supporter of LGBTQ people, but that’s why we create new stories, so that that new and original material can be honored. We should not change Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s work just for the sake of mainstream society in modern times.

My brother actually made me realize (after the movie was over) the slight issue of this scene. In a way, I would have overlooked this otherwise “Hollywood-esque” move made by mainstream Hollywood. But he said in a way, it felt like Disney altered the source material just to bow-down to mainstream society. Being that Disney is one of the 5 major economic giants who run our economy, you would think they would have realized they have the power to honor such work.

It was as if Disney merely added-in new material for the sake of saving facing, not for honoring the original work created by Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.

A woman who had written this successful story (Beauty and the Beast) in her time period in 18th century France, Villeneuve did the utterly and nearly impossible. Her story was quickly shared throughout the world and was critically acclaimed and adapted into theatrical plays as well. In a time when women were truly oppressed in a society that had seen it better for woman to just remain silent and be good housewives and mothers.

In all though, the live-action movie adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was spectacular and breathtaking in its execution. There were raw emotions stirred from within, moments of laughter, moments of happiness, of sorrow, and of tears. Through all of the good (and there was a lot of good) and of the bad, this movie earns a 10 out of 10 stars from me.

It was that good, to the point where I felt overwhelmed with deep emotions long forgotten.

Such magic is rare to find in movies, and especially where money is concerned. I’m shocked this movie came out to be as good as it did in the end. The only other thing I can say to end this review off on a good note is this: don’t allow anyone to tell you anything is impossible, for you can create stories, inventions, and history by speaking up and standing firmly for what you believe it.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

Where You Can Find Inspiration

Make it happen, and the world will open up to you…

Inspiration comes in many forms. Ultimately, when you really think about it, there are many different kinds of inspiration. There are the sad kinds of inspirations, there are the happy kinds that make you smile to yourself, and then there are the kinds that really just make you ponder about life in general. It’s almost contagious, infections to the very soul.

In a way, if you permit yourself to open up to the world, even if it’s dangerous and risky to do such a thing, you end up learning more not only about yourself but also more about the environment of different places around the world. Traveling helps, and unfortunately, traveling cost a lot of money. Not everyone, myself included, can afford to travel to “exotic” locations (I put “exotic” in quotations because such places are not exotic to the humans and inhabitants living there). Yet even still, there are numerous ways for you to find inspiration.

Take for example, a silent moment to yourself. Such moments like these can help you further expand on imagination, to seize moments of otherwise escapable memories. These are the times when you can use your mind as an advantage over anyone who gets the luxury of traveling and garnering inspiration from their travels. Undoubtedly, some of the best places are not even found here on this world, but in other worlds; other places.

But if you don’t write fiction (or if you do and it takes place here on Earth), you can still use this method of gaining inspiration. Our minds are amazing structures, undoubtedly remembering even the smallest of details or creating new information altogether. The brain is the single most amazing source of understanding and comprehending life and the many different complexities to our existence.

In essence, there are a variety of countless new ideas that come to us, even when we’re not consciously thinking about writing. Inspiration is not only found around us, but more so, within us. We must not underestimate our capabilities to find inspiration of hope, of sorrow, and of miracles within our minds. As we observe the world, and thus, observe our place within it, we begin to better understand the very concepts which may have once eluded us once before when we thought we were “naïve” or “unaware” of the world around us.

For the truth of the matter is much more different. If you allow yourself to have an open mind, anything’s possible. The only thing required on your part, is to be determined and persistent enough to pursue that which you desire.

Make it happen, and the world will open up to you…

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

5 Helpful “I’m Out of It” Writing Tips!

The last bit of advice comes from a personal spot in my heart. It’s something that I’ve lived by since I was a child. Ready for it? Because I’m sure you’re not!

At times, we may not feel like writing. At other times, we feel unnecessarily bogged down by life’s everyday grind. But even then, that’s still not a good excuse to let yourself cast aside writing altogether; even when you swear you’ll finish that great writing idea or finally complete that novel you’ve been working on for ages. Life’s not easy, and that includes the writing process. But what can be made easier is our attitude towards the process. We can either trudge on along to the sound of our own drum, or, we can mope around and get absolutely nothing done. It’s really a personal choice we consciously make, even if we hate to admit it.

To begin, the first helpful writing tip is likely the most obvious. Ready for it? Good.

Stay productive.

I understand taking a break here and there is necessary. But when you know your time is limited (no matter your age), you just know that you must get the job done. Our personal work is our greatest creations (which also includes children, if you are blessed to be a mother!). So we should take great pride in everything we do towards making our work the best it can be. No matter how grouchy you feel, or how tired you may be: make at least 20 minutes of time for your work. Even the littlest progress is still progress made, especially if in those 20 minutes, you create an inquisitively great idea. That’s what makes writing so amazing, you will undoubtedly have those moments where the words and sentences you construct just flow. It just works in ways you didn’t think were possible!

The second helpful writing tip I can offer you? Be honest with yourself.

Do you feel like sometimes you can go days, weeks, months, or even years without writing? Well, the truth of the matter is this: only you are responsible for the gap in your writing time. There’s nobody else to blame but yourself, and that can be a really hard pill to swallow, especially if you’re going through a rough (and I mean rough) patch in your life. You know what I’m talking about, those moments in your life you’d rather forget entirely. Yeah, those moments.

Third helpful writing tip to get your motivated: keep a calendar of all your meetings, work hours, childcare time, cooking, cleaning; errands (the list goes on, and on, and on…it never gets easier as you get older either, I’m speaking from experience). You see, when you make a list of your “must do” chores, you get a chance to visually see where you’re free time is at. This is the best way to organize in your day (god-willing nothing comes up out-of-the-blue), some time for your personal works of art. Don’t compromise when it comes to your work, and don’t be sorry either. It’s your creation, and you only get to make it once, so make it right the first time.

Fourth helpful writing tip is a bit of a doozy. Ready for it? Well if you aren’t, roll with the punches!

Be 110 percent dedicated to your craft.

When I say this, I mean, don’t make any excuses to avoid creating beautiful works-of-art. You are the only person who truly has your own back, so make sure you’re looking out for yourself! Don’t fall in the all-too-common pitfalls of despair, demotivation, distress, boredom, or even security. Because at the end of the day, you could lose it all – and that would be a shame if you just started building your career up.

The last bit of advice comes from a personal spot in my heart. It’s something that I’ve lived by since I was a child. Ready for it? Because I’m sure you’re not!

Imagine all of the unfortunate souls out there who have to suffer in silence.

Let this thought sink in your brain a little more. Just imagine, adults who slave away their lives working in sweatshops across the globe. Adults who once had dreams and aspirations, but must support their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and other family members through working excruciatingly long hours just to make ends meet. These people in the world will never get the same chances as you or I. They will never truly know what it might one day feel like to successfully create something out of nothing; and to be recognized by it (not matter how small or large the scale is). Just remember these types of people whenever you’re feeling down. This should help you readjust your outlook on life.

After all, we only have a limited amount of time in life, so let’s make the best of it.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

Video Games Have Epic Plotlines Too

In a real sense, you actually get the freedom to imagine what could be, and what is in fact true.

It may not seem like it, but the stories told through video games are actually quite astounding.

Video games take you on quite the adventure. There could be a variety of different perspectives shared in a storyline, development of characters is subtler yet vastly more detail-oriented when dissected, and there is quite an amazing variety in the different plights and issues each storyline presents.

Probably my favorite genre, or type, of video game I enjoy the most is that of Japanese Role Playing Games (or JRPG’s for short). I also enjoy regular-old RPG’s, (Role Playing Games), but it certainly has its differences when compared to JRPG’s. In Japanese Role Playing Games, there’s more of an emphasis on the dramatic effects of story-telling devices. A death of a character in a JRPG has a more in-depth moment of clarity then that of RPG’s, but with that said; RPG’s also have unique ways of killing off characters (sometimes, it can be a bit sadistic). JRPG’s, with a few exceptions, are more concerned with each character and their developments throughout the story arc, and showcase a very deep sorrow/meaning on a character’s death when it happens.

A great example of this can be seen in Final Fantasy VII. In this game, there is a character named Aeris/Aerith (depending on translation of the game in your region). SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t played this game (even though it’s been out well over 2 decades) please don’t read on.

Anyways, in the game, it builds her up as one of the core main characters involved in the story of the game. You get to know her thoroughly enough to understand that she’s quite a unique individual with an important past lineage. But due to unfortunate events, the game’s main villain, named Sephiroth, kills her about midway in the game’s entire story. She dies in a very dramatic manner. While she is praying to the “Life Stream”, Sephiroth kills her as he jumps down from the sky and slides the katana he wields, painfully into her back. The player, who is left speechless and wondering, what has just happened, mourns the passing of her untimely death throughout the reminder of the entire game. In fact, she is still mentioned a few times throughout the remaining story by the other main characters, as they ponder and reflect on Aeris/Aerith’s life. (She even makes a small reappearance in the game towards the end).

Of course, there is more to the story as well of Final Fantasy VII, but the point I’m trying to make, is that the storyline is not only visually effective, but it also is physically-affecting to the player. After all, any little thing that happens to the main cast of characters affects each player controlling the characters throughout the many battles and encounters in ways indescribable. You would have to play a JRPG (or RPG) to fully understand. Unlike a movie, where you are just a viewer of the film; video games actually make you feel like the death happened due to the fact that you’re controlling the characters throughout the storyline. Your actions, sometimes, can affect the outcome of certain character’s fates.

Video games are interactive, creating a deeper bond with you and the storyline being told. A great example of this can be found in the Turn-Based/Tactics JRPG game series entitled Fire Emblem. If you happen to find yourself playing a Fire Emblem game, you will find that your decisions on where to move characters during battle sequences, could very well get them killed. But unlike in some video games, where a character can come back after they faint in battle, in Fire Emblem, once a character dies they die for good. (Of course, in modern renditions of the series, there’s an option in the beginning to play on Casual mode, which is more forgiving. But nonetheless, avid fans of Fire Emblem usually play on Classic mode).

The death of a character in Fire Emblem effects how the story of the overall game is told to you. So each player can have their own unique experience playing it, since there are dozens of characters playable within any Fire Emblem game.

In a real sense, you actually get the freedom to imagine what could be, and what is in fact true.

Conclusively, as a writer, such storylines like the ones aforementioned certainly have helped my writing throughout the years. I’ve come to truly understand the importance of character development and also the important effect I should leave a reader with when a character dies. After all, getting to the end of a book is only half the journey; for the journey itself is what really matters…

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel