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Friday, April 26, 2019

Humor, Tragedy and the Dynamic Story (Part Two)

 “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”

― Don Quixote

Part Two: Inner Turmoil

So I totally failed my "post every 2 days" goal, but that's not gonna stop me from picking up where I left off today. In the last post we talked about anti-heroes and non-heroic protagonists, but I'd like to expand on that by introducing a new concept; inner turmoil.

When I talk about inner turmoil, I'm not referring to tragedy. Tragedy comes as the result of external forces, or a massive failure of some sort, while turmoil is more of a chronic condition. I'm not trying to make it out that protagonists have to be miserable all the time, but that some level of turmoil exists. It's vital that it fluctuates, that at their peak they feel at ease and sanguine; but if your character is to be compelling, and their journey is to have any bearing on the reader, they have to suffer at least a little. It doesn't always have to be depressing or anything, it can be small things like in Wall-E when the ship takes off with Eva on it. (I keep coming back to Wall-E because it's so precious and I love it.)

One of my favorite booktubers is an author named Jenna Moreci, and while it certainly wasn't perfect, her book The Savior's Champion is the best example of a troubled protagonist I can think of. Her book Eve: The Awakening is also very good but I think TSC is definitely where she hit her stride. I won't spoil anything, but her character Tobias is a great underdog and the story just keeps chewing him up and spitting him out.

Now there is one thing we need to establish before we go any further- the dynamic between external conflict and internal conflict.

While one could try to argue that stories like TSC and Shield Hero are examples of external conflict- not internal- they're actually both.

While it is possible to have a character full of inner turmoil for no external reasons, that usually isn't very compelling unless you came up with something incredibly original that no one has ever thought of before.

This means that there has to be a relationship between the external troubles of the world and the way the character responds to them internally.

One of my favorite ways to create inner conflict is by forcing the protagonist to do something horrible with the consequence of not taking action being even worse.

Having your character do something that they really don't want to only because they're told they have to isn't good enough. Even if all of your characters insist that X action is important and that the protagonist has to do it, that's not a good reason. The simple solution is to force them to with factors beyond their control.

The best, most simple example of this is in Avatar: The Last Airbender during the Library episode. If you haven't seen Avatar, this is a mild spoiler, but I won't say what happens afterwards so if you ever decide to sit down and watch it the outcome will still be a mystery.

In Avatar S2 episode 10, they begin a search for an absolutely massive library containing information about the Fire Nation, when they discover that the entire thing is buried in sand except for the little tower on top, and they climb the little stone tower to descend into the library.
While they go inside the buried library to search for information about the war, the blind earthbender Toph stays behind to watch the main character's companion animal, a giant flying bison named Appa.

But while they're inside the library, two things happen simultaneously.

They break the trust of the spirit guarding the library, and he decides to sink the entire building all the way below the sand to bury them all; and while this is happening, thugs ambush Aang's bison Appa and drag him away to sell him to whatever nobleman or butcher will buy him.

Toph, who is blind, realizes that the library is sinking while everyone else is still inside, and roots her feet in sand and tries to keep the library from sinking with her earthbending.

But as soon as she gets a grip on the tower and slows down the sinking, the sand thugs approach from behind and start binding Appa in ropes in a muzzle, tying him down and talking about what they'll do with him.

Toph yells "Don't make me put this down!" and drops the tower for a few seconds to try and fight them off, but the building immediately starts sinking rapidly and she has to grab the tower again before it's completely buried in sand.
And then we see this heartbreaking moment where she has to stand there and do nothing as these people muzzle Appa and drag him away to some butcher or zoo where they'll sell him, and she just cries and whimpers, "I'm sorry, Appa...." as they take him right out from under her.

This was an amazing story-telling device because the two things happening simultaneously created this. If the library wasn't sinking, she could have fought them off, and if the library started sinking but there were no thugs, she could hold the tower up without any other issues.

But because both of these things occurred at the same time, she had no choice but to let them take Appa because the alternative- everyone inside the building being buried alive- would be even worse.

What's great about this method is that it's completely show-don't-tell. I have a problem with stories that tell the main character that they have to do X or Y will happen, but in The Last Airbender and many other good stories, we see that creating an external conflict where two or more things are happening simultaneously is the best way to force the character's hand and make them take action on their own conviction.

Another thing is that this scene was visceral. Normally when there's a big moment in a story where the protagonist has to make a hard choice, there's a big buildup to that decision and its implications, but there was no build-up or warning to this. We had no way of knowing that the spirit would sink the library as soon as they entered, and we had no way of knowing that Toph would be left to keep it from sinking while sandbenders kidnapped Appa right in front of her. It just came out of nowhere, yet it wasn't random or unrealistic. A lot of times writers and scriptwriters will try to throw in something random or retcon something in to create a dilemma (I'm guilty of this in ASH) but this scene didn't come across that way at all; we already knew the sandbenders were kind of scummy and were eyeing Appa earlier, and we knew the library was partially buried in sand, so when this scene happens it feels sudden and knee-jerk but not unrealistic or unreasonable.

While the setup is external, the situation creates inner turmoil because Toph has to stand by and do nothing while the sandbenders kidnap Appa. This is a simple example because there's only two options- save Appa and let the library sink or save the building and let them take Appa- but other stories do this in more complicated and nuanced ways.

I mentioned that Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames was one of my favorite books and that's mostly because it's a master of the nuanced inner conflict. This is because the main character overthinks everything, and even though the story itself doesn't provide all that much external conflict, it only takes the slightest bit of external resistance for the protagonist to be completely thrown spiraling into confusion and strife, and I love it. It's not completely generating internal conflict from thin air, but it's very resourceful at making conflict from things you wouldn't normally think about.

But the thing with inner conflict is that it can't be constant. There has to be highs and lows, good times and bad, and we need to experience them both equally in order to appreciate the other. You can't relate to the bad times if there's no good times, and if there's only good times we won't appreciate anything the protagonist has and neither will they. In other words, the protagonist should have something taken away from them.

Of course it doesn't just have to be the protagonist- when Appa is kidnapped in ATLA, Toph was just as hurt as Aang was, even though it was his animal companion that was taken and he's the main character.

This is an oversimplified example, but The Emperor's New Groove is a great template to use. He starts off as the king, or emperor if you want to be specific, and is turned into a llama and loses everything he had.

Of course, that's ultimately a good thing and his humbling experience is what makes him better to the villagers, but to him it just sucked.

A more serious example is Shield Hero (spoilers!). In Rising of the Shield Hero, Naofumi is summoned as the Shield Hero, meaning he can only use a shield and it's literally impossible for him to wield another weapon. All seems alright though, because each of the cardinal heroes gets to start with a group of capable adventurers who can fight alongside them, but then, because this show loves torturing Naofumi, not a single person voluntarily joins him. When he makes a big commotion out of it, a girl named Myne volunteers to join him, but of course she's just one person and all the other heroes get a large group of adventurers, but it's better than nothing.

Myne is cute, and she's nice to Naofumi, and she helps him get his basic abilities down with the shield and they buy a bunch of expensive high-quality gear together. Things are looking up for him.

But then, he wakes up in the inn to discover he'd been robbed, and all of his money, armor and equipment was gone- except for the shield, which can't be separated from his arm- and when he goes to the guards to alert them about the theft, they strip him and take him away in chains. They throw him to the ground in front of the king while Myne hides behind the guards, sobbing and crying that he raped her.

This is all unprovoked; he was nothing but good the entire first episode, and it ends with a false rape accusation and all of his equipment and money being stolen. He was already in a bad position with being the Shield Hero, meaning he can only fight with a shield, but it's infinitely worse by the end of the first episode, because now he has nothing, no companions to help him fight, no money or gear, and his reputation is ruined and the shop keepers and inns refuse to serve him because they think he's a sexual predator.

"Begone, thot!" the anime.
Now, this is all external, but it sets up everything else that will happen in the show including the internal conflict. Because of this single, devastating event, Naofumi goes from this wide-eyed, hopeful 20-year-old to a bitter, distrustful pessimist who doesn't trust anyone and won't hesitate to take advantage of others to give himself leverage over them. You could say in many ways he becomes an asshole in the second episode, but it's hard not to justify his mentality after what happened to him.

But even though he's kind of a jerk, we get to see the inner conflict he has and the resentment he's built up towards the kingdom for summoning him against his will and tearing him down the way they did. And the shop owners and innkeepers continue to refuse him service, and people continue to spread nasty rumors about him, and he continues to resent them. But this creates an internal conflict when he meets characters that actually do care about him and want what's best for him, because he's become so calloused by that first episode that he'll turn away anyone he thinks has suspect motives.

A similar example in ATLA would be Zuko. While it's not quite as extreme as Shield Hero, Zuko from Avatar goes through a similar experience.

His father never loved him and his sister Azula was always the favorite child, and when he spoke out against a general during a war meeting, he- a 13-year-old-boy- was told he would have to duel.

Zuko was willing to try to fight the general in a 1v1 duel, but when he arrived he discovered that he would be facing his own father, because, as the show put it, "When Zuko spoke out against the general, he thought it would be the general he would be fighting, but because he spoke out against the general at his father's war meeting, it was his father who he had disrespected."

When Zuko sees it's his father who showed up to duel him and not the general he argued with, he kneels down and begs for forgiveness, refusing to fight his father Ozai.
But Ozai tells him that he will learn respect one way or another, and when Zuko still refuses to fight, he horribly burns off a portion of his face and banishes him from the country.

He has nothing but a small ship and his uncle Iroh to keep him company, and a promise that if he captures the most powerful man in the world- the Avatar- that he can come back to his homeland.
Having everything he knew taken away from him when he was just a child, and being permanently, literally scarred, he becomes obsessed with capturing the Avatar and returning home a hero.

But even that is taken away from him when others from his homeland- like his sister Azula and his direct rival, Commander Zhao, take what little he has. Zhao tries to assassinate him by detonating his ship while he's still in it, and when he somehow survives his own sister tries to take him captive as a prisoner to stand trial in his homeland.

The situation puts him in a position where everything he knows and everything he wants are at odds with each other. What he wants is the Avatar, so that he can return to his homeland a hero, but no one in his homeland wants him. His own people and family banished him and tried to have him killed and imprisoned, and he goes through this struggle where he doesn't know what to do because his life goal goes against his own self-preservation and the way his own kind are treating him. They treat him like a traitor for not letting them imprison and kill him, and it reaches a point where he is so sick of being called a traitor for no reason that he actually does become one and joins forces with the protagonists.

And the whole thing with Zuko is that he's one of the villains in the first half of the show, but he is the way he is because of his turmoil and inner conflict, not because he's inherently evil. It's important that every character- good and bad- has inner conflict driving them, because even bad guys need to be human and fleshed-out. The thing with Zuko is that we hated what he was doing but felt sorry for him as a person. He wasn't evil, just confused and misguided and full of resentment and rage. But it's fantastic that the show was able to take a character like Zuko and give him a compelling redemption arc where he not only stops being the bad guy, but becomes a pivotal part of the MC's success. 

If you leave this read with anything, it's that there is a dichotomy between external situations and internal conflict, and that these things do not exist in a vacuum independently from each other, rather they rely on each other to keep the characters and plot going.

You need the external forces of the world you've built to shape the character you're working with, to set off a series of internal struggles that will drive them deeper into the thick of it.

As always,

may all your cups of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Humor, Tragedy, and the Dynamic Story (Part One)

“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

Richard Feynman
Don Quixote by Adrien Demont, 1893

 Part 1: The Anti-Hero

One thing that I'm fond of in stories is a sense of wonder, defiant assertion in itself, and a feeling of fondness and tenderness.

Those were some of the very reasons why I liked Adventure Time so much, but very few stories can capture the essence of these ideas as well as Don Quixote.

After reading through it and starting a second reading just recently, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what made this story click, until I found this painting here on the right.

The writer of the post described Don Quixote as the "anti-hero" of the story, which is surprising because he's often referred to by literary giants like Stephen King as the greatest hero in history.

By definition, an anti-hero is a protagonist that lacks heroic attributes. So how then can someone who defiantly lacks such heroic traits be regarded as one of the greatest heroes of all time?

For example, Deadpool is a hilarious example of a complete anti-hero, but throughout the movie he keeps saying the same thing. "Don't call me a hero. I'm not a hero." And I'm sure most of us would agree. Deadpool is fantastic, but he isn't a hero. He's chaotic neutral at best.

But what makes Don Quixote any different? Could it be that he isn't actually a true anti-hero?


The author of the post I read was completely correct. Don Quixote is the personification of the anti-hero trope. He's someone who is, perhaps well-intentioned, but so delusional that any heroic notions he exhibits are filtered out by his ideological worldview.
Of course, this raises an interesting philosophical question. Is heroism defined by intention, or action?
Is someone doing good for bad reasons, like Deadpool, heroic?

And is someone doing wrong because of their twisted interpretation of their good intentions, like Don Quixote, a heroic person despite the end result of their actions?

There is no clear-cut answer, but there is something interesting.

It might be possible to be an anti-hero and a hero.

Here's why.

Deadpool is just as surprised as you are.
There are prerequisites- qualities or traits that a hero must have to be defined as a hero, and then there are associated traits. It's possible to meet all of the requirements without any of the associated qualities that usually come along with them.

In other words, heroism is not a package deal.

In my humble opinion, these two things are the only set-in-stone requirements for a character to be considered a hero.

1). Good intentions. Now this does vary, but not too much. For example, Deadpool just wanted to save his stripper girlfriend, which one could argue was a good intention. However I'd go as far to say that consistently good intentions are what makes a hero, not a self-serving one. While Deadpool is a fantastic fella, his desire to get his girlfriend back and reap revenge did not come from a heroic heart.

2). Drive. It doesn't matter if someone has the best intentions in the world. If they don't ever take action, then they aren't hero material. Which brings me to my next point...

Things that are not requirements for heroism:

1) Competence. That's right, competence doesn't matter. And Don Quixote is kind of the proof of this. It is theoretically possible for a hero to be terrible at their job, but that doesn't mean they don't qualify for being the Hero™. This is something only a handful of stories have explored. The anime series One Punch Man is wildly popular for this very reason. A lot of people don't realize it, but what makes One Punch Man so funny is that he meets all the criteria for being a hero- he is extremely powerful (overpowered, in fact) and has completely benevolent intentions, but sucks at being a hero.

For non-weebs out there, Hancock is another great example of this, and some might argue that Mr. Incredible in the first Incredibles movie is another, albeit to a lesser extent.

Don Quixote is a hero in every sense of the word, except he sucks at it. The outcomes of his attempted heroism reflect this.

In one scene, Don Quixote rides up through a dense wood on his donkey-steed Rociante, and hears the wailing of a boy in distress. When he arrives at the scene of the suffering, it's an indentured servant- only a young boy- being lashed with the whip, tied to a tree, by his master.

The boy cries for help fro Don Quixote, and the master quivers in fear when he sees Don Quixote raise his weapons and threaten to let the boy go. The boy explains that he messed up a job, and that's why he was being lashed, but his master hadn't payed him in weeks. Don Quixote forces the master to let the boy go, and Don Quixote commands him to pay the boy his wages, plus extra for the lashings, but the boy pleads with him not to leave. Don Quixote, being so sure in the obedience of the master, leaves anyway, and the master ties him back up and lashes him even worse than before.

He had the drive and intentions of a hero, but in his stupidity he not only failed to save the boy from the whip, but made it worse by angering the master who then took it out on the boy, saying, "Come, child, let me make sure that I owe you even more" before tying him back up and resuming the lashings.

I googled "folly" and this came up, so whenever you think of folly, imagine this duck building.
Now here's another thing that makes this type of character interesting.
In a way, I think there's a second type of anti-hero.

In my post about villains I talked a lot about stories where there is no villain. But, in some stories, the protagonist is their own worst enemy- thus raising the question of whether or not they are their own villains. In these types of stories, it isn't immediately clear whether there's no villain at all, or if the villain is the protagonist. Perhaps "villain" wouldn't be the right word, since a villain has to have a reason to hate the protagonist and hold personal malice against him / her, but in a way the main character can have a sort of duology where they are both their greatest ally and their greatest antagonist.

That's why Wake Up, Sir! is one of my favorite books, because Alan Blaire is his own worst enemy and I love it.

I apologize if this post seemed a bit short, but rest assured this is definitely the shortest piece of the 7-part series. You can expect the next part to either be posted tomorrow or the day after.

As always,

may all your cups of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Quick Update:

So I mentioned previously that I was working on a Big Post™, and decided that it's going to be a 6-part sort of series of blog posts, and each of the 7 parts will be a condensed, digestible piece of the overall discussion. I want to have Part One uploaded tomorrow, and will also be doing a continued post about Alita.

The reason why I'm doing it this way is because I have more to say about the movie itself; the previous post about it was mostly focusing on the media and its coverage of the movie, i.e. what the YouTube community refers to as the Culture War.*

The culture war is essentially the growing divide between fans and creators. One example is the politicization of video games, another is laws like Article 13 passed by the EU that show a blatant lack of understanding of the YouTube community, and another is the way Disney ruined the Star Wars franchise with the Last Jedi and Solo; some say this is what's starting to happen with Marvel and that Captain Marvel was the first example of the new route Marvel wants to take with its movies. The overall theme with the Culture War discussion is that companies are becoming more and more detached from what real, actual consumers want, and will spare no expense trying to force consumers to accept what's being peddled to them.

That being said, this isn't going to become an Alita blog, or a movie blog either, but I do love stories and creative endeavors and when I find something I like, I want to explore everything it has to offer, regardless of what medium it is. I'm sure at some point in the foreseeable future, a game will come out that's so interesting and new that I'll have to talk about it the way I'm talking about Alita, and I'm sure the same could easily happen with a TV show, anime, or book series. Considering Game of Thrones season 8 is about to come out, and I'm also reading Harry Potter for the first time, and I finally caved in and bought The Witcher 3, you can expect that I'll probably be covering the major points of at least one, if not all of those things, but I'll cross those bridges when I get there.

But of course I still have this big project I've been outlining, so I think it would be a good idea to wrap up the Alita discussion and start a new one on the same day, but both posts will be a bit long so people can pick and choose to read whatever they want (part one of the mini-series is actually pretty short, but the entire thing will be super long). Anyone who wants to dive into the discussion can today or tomorrow, whenever it's finished, and anyone who wants to read more about Alita can do that too. For the 7-part post series I'll try to have one post up every other day, which might be difficult but that's what I'm aiming for.

Anyway that was just a quick update and I'll get back to work on these posts and hopefully have them done today if not tomorrow.


Monday, April 1, 2019

The Best Writing Tips I've Learned

Sorry for posting so late in the evening, but I wanted to be sure that I got this post up today, so I'm just glad I didn't let you down in that regard.

I know a lot of people are probably sick of seeing "Top 10" lists of advice that we all think are great when we first read them only to completely ignore 10 minutes later, but hell, that doesn't stop WatchMojo from pumping these lists out, so why should it stop me?

Anyway, this isn't just an ordinary list. This is a bonafide, serious list of only the absolute best writing advice. You don't need to ever read another list again because I've got you covered.

1). Only write when you're moved to write. Why would you want to write when you don't feel like writing? Obviously your best work is going to stem from your most inspired moments, so you should strictly only write when you feel extra inspired. If you don't feel inspired to write, then that makes writing feel like work, and writing should not feel like work. Let the talent-less peasants do all the work. Remember, you're an artist, so you don't have to work, just create mind-blowingly good content on your first try whenever your muse moves you to write, because that's what all the pros do.

2). Don't read. All the time you spend reading will just lead to you comparing yourself to other writers, and you can't have that. No sir, you don't need that type of negativity in your life. Also if you read a lot of books, you might subconsciously copy some of their themes and ideas and integrate them into your own book, so if you want to guarantee that your story is 100% new and original, you should avoid other books and authors at all costs. It just isn't worth the risk. Trust me, you're the chosen one- you were born to be a writer, so if you want to write good content, you will. Don't waste your time reading what other people have done, just make your own!

3). Take all feedback with a grain of salt. I know that a lot of people get all hung up on the whole "reader feedback" thing, but let's be honest- most of these readers can't possibly understand your vision. They aren't artistic geniuses and none of them were born with your writing talent, so none of them could accurately offer anything of substance to your story. The only real reason authors have betas read their work is to hear their work being praised. Anything else is just unnecessary hate, and we don't care what the haters have to say. None of them could do what we do, so don't let them and their scathingly "objective" (that word is just a dog-whistle for other trolls and haters) criticisms get you down. Remember: when in doubt, tune them out.

4). Diversity is important. Some people read books for the story, but the new craze is race and sex. And I'm not talking about The Fast and the Furious movies.

People these days only care about your story meeting a checklist of specific races, genders and sexualities. These include, but are not limited to:

a) At least 7 black people

b) At least 4 Muslim people

c) At least 3 gay people

d) At least one trans person, unless it's female-to-male then it doesn't count

e) At least 5 big-boned (realistically proportioned) women

f) At least one toxic male (to kill off)

g) At least 10 strong female characters

h) At least 20 Mexicans, Spaniards, Hondurans, or other brown people

i) At least one non-human-conforming person

j) At least one person who identifies as Angeligender (Astralgender will also work)

k) At least one M.A.P (minor-attracted-person, just don't call them pedophiles because that's racist)

l) And lastly, it must pass the Bechdel test in at least 14 different scenes.

Not so hard, right? Just be sure to include them all because only a xenophobe would exclude people like that. Try your best to make a good story but remember that diversity is strength, therefore the strength of your story hinges on the diversity of your cast. If you don't have a very large set of characters, you're going to have to be creative. I recommend introducing all of these extra characters via droves of filler content. Just add lots and lots of filler between the plot points and use that time to introduce all of the necessary characters that need representation.

5). Save money, edit yourself. You don't need an editor, you're a professional novelist. If you can write a novel, you can edit a novel too. It's really not that hard. Just turn spellcheck on, fix anything that's highlighted in red (which is probably nothing if we're being honest) and correct them. That's it, that's all you have to do. Why would you shell out hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars to pay someone to do something that you can do in 20 minutes? The whole thing reeks of a Ponzi scheme.

6). Let your twitter do the marketing for you. A lot of websites offer "marketing services," and by that I mean all they do is go around posting your work in places that you could have posted it. Just like with editors, you don't need to pay for marketing unless you're stupid. Just go on twitter and share a link to your website. Your book will speak for itself. It's so good that everyone is going to love it, and you're going to make Stephen King and J.K. Rowling look like amateurs. Once people read your work, you're already predestined for success. All you have to do now is sit back, relax, and wait for the book deals and royalty checks to start pouring in.

7). Use as many similes as possible. Everyone loves a good poet, and nothing is more poetic than similes. Similes are as beautiful as roses during a sunset. If you want some good advice on how to execute similes in the most impressive way possible, read some Cassandra Clare books. Now I know I said earlier not to read, but this is different. That's referring to reading for pleasure. You see, if you read for pleasure, you might accidentally copy other peoples' themes and ideas, but in this case, you're intentionally trying to copy. But don't think of it as copying, think of it as "studying." You didn't copy the Shadowhunter books, just like the Shadowhunter books didn't copy Harry Potter. You were just inspired by them. And everyone loves good similes, otherwise why would Cassandra Clare be so famous? So be sure to make sure that all of your beautiful purple prose is dripping with poetic brilliance, because only the most high-brow and artistic clientele read your work.

8). Take a break. Not feeling inspired? Take a break. Feel kind of tired? Take a break. Feel like playing video games? Take a break. Again, I cannot stress this enough- only write when your muse demands it, otherwise your work will be boring and uninspired. So whenever you just don't feel like working, take a break.

9). Recycle, recycle, recycle. If there's anything I've learned, it's that when people know what they want, they stick to it. Why else do we all get the exact same sandwich every time we go to Subway? Producing new content is always a risk, but once you know what your audience likes, just give it to them. Once you've given them the whole story, just start a spin-off where you recycle the plot of the first story. Use this also as the basis for your "inspiration." And everyone knows that recycled content is the only thing that sells these days. Disney recycles the exact same plot in all of its movies, and it's worth $98 billion. You too could be a 98-billionaire, all you have to do is keep giving people what they want, and never give the crowd anything they haven't already spent money on in the past. Recycling old content is also faster than creating new content, so you can pump out more books per year and therefore make more money.

10). And lastly, start a writing workshop to share what you've learned. After you've done all this, you're pretty much the best writer to have ever lived, and everyone out there could benefit from your experience and literary wisdom. You might be worried that sharing your secrets with others will create competition for you, but fear not, no one is as good as the original. And if you're really that concerned, just peddle them lies and bad writing advice, so that they're essentially paying you to sabotage their writing careers. It's a flawless plan and you should be proud to be the one born into this role. It's a massive accomplishment that only you could have achieved.

As always,

may all your cups of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.