I never have anything to say

I have this really annoying tendency to think up a great blog post, then when it comes time to actually write something, I have nothing.

I’ll be honest, almost all of my posts here are just announcements for the new chapters of Arctic Gale. (That’s Chapter 22, by the way).

The process goes like this:

- I will find 2 hours or so of free time when I also have that “creative spark” that allows you to spin words together (the chances of these two rare events coinciding is relatively small).

- I will post the page here, having basically used up all of my concentration power

- I will freak out about no-one loving me enough to actually read the chapter, so I post a “Post” (as opposed to a page) so that the people that subscribe here will at least get some kind of notification

Due to Steps 1 and 2, the will to write a nice post is slightly sapped, so I end up with something lacklustre (e.g. this post).

Then, when the comments start coming in on the page, it is usually some hours or days later, so I’m about to find 10-15 minutes to reply, meaning that some pages end up having career advice or actually useful stuff, even though they are waaaaay off topic for the AG pages.

Unfortunately, most of those insights are out of reach at the moment. I’m in a little “privacy pod” in Hong Kong’s airport in the lounge (which, by the way, is waaaay to far away from the shops to be convenient).

At the moment, having survived 8 hours in the sky and now half-way through a 6-hour transfer, the greatest contribution to the human race that I can muster is simply this:

Airlines shouldn’t serve asparagus.

I love asparagus, but I’m also prat of the 30% or so of the population that gets weird-smelling urine after eating it. At home, it doesn’t bother me. I still giggle about the “Arrgh, it’s the Mr. Hell Show!” skit with Mr Asparagus Man.

But on a plane full of people, serving asparagus is not a grand idea. Even if you are in the mini-cabins, like Premium economy, there are usually about 20 people there; meaning 6 weird-pee-smellers. Even in the best laid-out aircraft you’re only going to have about 6 bathrooms; meaning that there is a pretty good chance that everyone will be exposed to that strange odor. I can’t imagine what it would be like in the main cabin. The toilets in planes are bad enough as is…

Okay. Enjoy AG 22. It is a little bridge; an anti-climax between the last conflict and the ones to come. There are a few coming, and already I have started drifting a little (not irreversibly) from my hand-sketched “How Arctic Gale Ends” page (of which I think we are only about 1/3rd through).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gong to go an load up on asparagus again. I have a 12 hour flight, and my seat reservation was stuffed up at the airport this morning, so I am about to wreak asparagus-related vengeance on my co-travelers.

100 Pages

Okay, I should know better than to get excited about word counts and stuff, but I am a bit of a sucker for it.


The “page” count in Word is arbitrary, really, and so 100 pages at 12pt font doesn’t really mean much. Arctic Gale is now sitting at 40,000 words, so we’re now in that grey area between Novella and Novel. And whilst I know there is a lot of “story” to go, this is the conflict part and I usually end up hurrying this. When I was writing Hanako, I smashed through 10,000 in one day when I was finishing the original “Hanako Punch!” route. It was exhausting but also awesome. The original route for Hanako, post-Act 1, was about 80,000 words, so I guess that puts things in perspective.


I don’t think that I’ll be able to pull that off again; I have a little girl and a big job that both work to distract me from 18-hour writing sessions, but you never know.


It is a little sad that I have nothing to really write about here other than Arctic Gale, so please enjoy a photo from a Bird Show that I took aforementioned little girl to last weekend.

Arctic Gale Chapter 21


Some kind of big eagle thing. I was too busy taking photos to listen for names.

Some kind of big eagle thing. I was too busy taking photos to listen for names.

Another Farewell


Ah, it is such a bummer to do farewells, but they are a part of life.

About a year ago I posted a photo from the Lantern Floating (Tourounagashi) in Kyoto, where we floated a lantern for my brother (go back to November 2012 for details of you’d like).

Anyway, long story short, my brother’s crash lead to my dad getting irrecoverably depressed, and even after three trips to a mental hospital, he ended up drowning after drinking too much.

So this year we floated another lantern.

I wasn’t intending on posting anything about dad, but after the Robin Williams thing, I thought that it was worthwhile to remind people the depression is actually a thing, and a fatal thing at that.

I won’t go into my own stories too much, however I will say that even though it is hard, sometimes calling the hospital and getting yourself some real help is worthwhile. I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but in Aus most of the big hospitals have a psychiatric Unit that will take you in and look after you until someone can sort your shit out.

It may save your life, or at least your friendships…

Oh, and Arctic Gale 20 is done!
Arctic Gale 20

Writingining iningining

Wow. Sometimes you don’t even realise how long you’ve done something until you start having a lot of it.


Arctic Gale is now over 90 (word) pages! It’s still a far cry from finished, or from a KS path, but damn; next weekend I could possibly get into triple digits.

I also think, in some ways, that this is the end of the current “Act” – maybe Act 2, or Act 3. It’s a little harder to think of these things, however those of you that are reading should hopefully feel a shift in where things are going.



It also marks 20 complete chapters, although they appear to be, on average, shorter than the 2000-ish words that made up the scenes in KS. I’m sure that this will change though when I go back and polish everything up.


I’m also now in a quandary, because I have either unintentionally or subconsciously opened up a possibility that I didn’t really want to look into. For those of you that are actually reading the story I will say no more, but please feel free to conjecture in the comments on the page.


Anyway, here is a photo from my balcony. You can clearly see the reduction in the brightness of the sky between the two rainbows, which just happened to occur at the “Golden Hour” minutes before sunset.

Sunset Double Rainbow

Sunset Double Rainbow

A depressing thought

Most of us turn to fiction in order to get inspired and alleviate our boredom of the world.

And yet, how many times do we hear of the “truth being stranger than fiction”?


Thus, how damned mundane must the real world be?


Okay, so maybe that is a little gloomy, which is (mostly) unlike me, however this came to me tonight. I was killing a bit of time and watching James Randi debunk a number of “psychics”. It was fun to have a giggle at them, even if some of them were truly convinced of their own ability. 


Anyway, there was enough of that, so I switched back to my default tired YouTube mix of AMVs (old habits die hard). And I started getting all stirred up by them. “Man, if only I could write something that would affect people as much as Fate/Bakemonogatari/Higurashi could…” I thought. 


Okay, so maybe KS isn’t quite at that level, but I surely have an inbox full of saved messages thanking me for KS. 


The same thing happens at airports. I travel enough to get access to nice airline lounges. And yet, when I grab a coffee in there, I jealously sneer at those corporate pricks that spend their lives on planes, flying to foreign lands and enjoying the finer things in life…

Sometimes you forget to look at your own life and surroundings. Truth is stranger than fiction, but unfortunately for us our brains conspire against us to prevent us from noticing this.

There are a number of books on cognitive fallacies, the most well known being “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, but there are also the “Easy Mode” versions like “The Art Of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli and “You’re not as smart as you think you are” by David McRaney (although different countries have different titles depending on the local idioms). 


I’ll admit that I’ve actually been taking a narrow view on these books recently – actually mainly an availability heuristic failing (I finished an e-book without a readily available follow-up, Our Lord Amazon, however, provided…). But sometimes that is enough to open your eyes just enough to catch a fleeting glimpse of the immensely interesting and exciting world that we live in.


I’m halfway through the next chapter of Arctic Gale. I was interrupted last weekend and couldn’t get back into it, but I am hoping that I can fix this tomorrow morning. Keep an eye out!


In the interim, I leave you with an image that I will now select from my collection. Sadly my new NAS is having a case of the sads, so it will be an old one.



Flower Viewing on Miyajima Island, 2009

Flower Viewing on Miyajima Island, 2009


Okay, when I first started writing, I used to think that I had an adequate enough vocabulary to simply smash my keyboard until a story came out.

My first attempt at a “novel” was in Year 10. I had a Cassiopeia “Pocket PC,” and I was continuously writing a  Warhammer 40k – based fiction. However, I had issues connecting the device to anything else, and after holding onto the device for about five years, I eventually gave up on trying to remove it from the device’s memory. It was a sad day.


Skip forward about another year or so, and I started to pretend that I might actually be able to write something that someone else might want to read. I fancied myself a bit of a “professional” (N.B. to date my total earnings from writing total about $2,000, and almost exclusively from non-fiction), so I went out and bought a Thesaurus. Initially, it was just to sit on my bookshelf and look professional. I don’t think I opened it for about three years – during the writing of Katawa Shoujo.


My Study, Thesaurus on the desk, after completing AG Chapter 18


A thesaurus is an interesting beast, especially a small one like mine (only 300,000 entries). Without it, you can find yourself repeating yourself without even realising it. But simply having one in front of you is enough to “prime” you, and you become aware of the repetition or repeating yourself, like you are primed to notice it.

And if you notice this, and you pick up the book and thumb through its pages, you’ll find that you almost always find a better way of explaining the situation – even before you reach the word you were looking for.


Unfortunately for me, for reasons that are really boring, my thesaurus has been stuck in storage for almost a year. However, I now have my new bookshelf (already full and double-stacked in some areas), and my trusty companion is back.


As a result, Arctic Gale, which has taken all day to write and is 2-3 times longer than the average chapter (and 13% of the novel so far), should hopefully be a little more immersing.

So, please enjoy Chapter 18.