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The ramblings of a designer turned writer turned computer geek turned writer turned designer with way too much time on his hands.
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TGRF's Reviews - The SYLO Chronicles

Posted May 25th, 2021 at 06:02 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
I read the SYLO books back in... I can't even remember when. A few years back. I hadn't read anything recently at the time, and possessed by a sudden urge to do so, I perused the fiction shelves of the local library, looking for likely titles. The one that I ended up checking out was SYLO, by D. J. MacHale, the first in a trilogy. Since reading all three books, I've had the desire to review them ever since.

Ratings:
5: Amazing, above flawless.
4: Flawless, but doesn't really stand out.
3: Might have some issues, but works fine.
2: Has some issues which might detract from the story.
1: Flawed, bring the story down noticeably.

Title: The SYLO Chronicles (SYLO, STORM, STRIKE)
Author: D.J.MacHale
My Rating: 4/5

Summary (no spoilers)
It's kind of hard to summarize the whole trilogy without spoiling it. That's because the last two books are based on the ending twist of the first. That twist...
Posted in TGRF's Reviews
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TGRF's Reviews - Mistborn (The Final Empire)

Posted May 23rd, 2021 at 07:29 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
Updated May 25th, 2021 at 05:27 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
I've decided to start another series of blogs, for the purpose of reviewing/critiquing stories (and possibly movies) I've read. I don't read as much as I should these days, but when I do finish up a good fiction book, I often feel like sharing my thoughts on it. So that's what this is for. There are no spoilers below, aside from some very general hints on the story structure used.

Ratings:
5: Amazing, above flawless.
4: Flawless, but doesn't really stand out.
3: Might have some issues, but works fine.
2: Has some issues which might detract from the story.
1: Flawed, bring the story down noticeably.

Title: Mistborn (The Final Empire)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3.9/5 - a solid read.

I hadn't heard about Brandon Sanderson until recently, and upon hearing that he was known for writing 'clean' stories, I knew I had to check him out. I really don't want to read a ton of language or......
Posted in TGRF's Reviews
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FFC #72 - An update, and confrontations

Posted May 22nd, 2021 at 02:29 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #72

It's been a bit since my last update, and I haven't really been around much, so I wanted to let my readers know what's going on.

Not much has changed from my last FFC update. I still have some stories floating around, nothing is really taking off, and that's about it. This goes for my novels as well, to a lesser extent.

Over the last year, it's been becoming increasingly clear why this is happening. For the first five years of my writing, it was like I was unstoppable. My stories got better, I never had problems writing them like I do now, things just worked. My writing hasn't really felt that way since I wrote Red. I've detailed before that that's where everything seems to have fallen apart.

Over the last year or so, I've had to shift my thinking quite a bit. I've had to confront the fact that I need to get out and get a job and general experience like a normal person - something...
Posted in FFC
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FFC #71 - Subplots, and what's next

Posted May 1st, 2021 at 01:23 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #71

So after the somewhat dismal last FFC, I have some good news. After extensive discussion with TAF (thanks again for your input), I think I've nailed down the issue behind the absent middles in my stories, and how to fix them. All that remains now is to put my theories to the test.

Basically the solution comes down to adding subplots, so you can expect the next story to have several mini-stories going on throughout it in addition to the main plot. I have done this before with HiS, but I'll be approaching subplots from a different angle this time, so we'll see what happens.

That leaves one remaining question: what is the next story?

For a while now, I've had basically two stories sloshing around in my head. Interest wavers between them at random intervals, but neither can really seem to get off the ground. They are:
  • A sequel to Valkyrie, continuing the history of Valhalla. I've been
...
Posted in FFC
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FFC #70 - Why math is not like writing

Posted April 26th, 2021 at 09:40 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #70

I'm beginning to see why some people like math. In math the rules are absolute. The goals are plain. The obstacles are clear. There is a right way to solve every problem.

I admit to not being a mathematician. Therefore my interpretation of the field may not be entirely accurate.

Writing is like the opposite of math. Some things have rules, some do not. What rules there are must be followed, bent, or broken depending on the situation. There are usually several goals, and defining them is not easy. You also never know if you have the right goal or if you're working towards something else. The obstacles are hard to find for the same reason. If the goal is wrong, the obstacle is too. Often there are multiple obstacles. There are a multitude of right ways to solve every problem, each of which offer varying levels of success. Sometimes solutions create more problems.

It's easy to wish for...
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