An Exercise in Self-Critique 2

This is the second in what will hopefully be a longer series of posts where I critique the beginnings of my own stories, written long ago, and try to make them better. You can find the first post here. Today I’ll look at my oldest, dearest and most popular Mass Effect fanfic, Fruit from Palaven.

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Wish They Left the Stars Out of Star Trek: Discovery

I’ve seen about half the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. It’s riddled with stupid plot-twists, unlikable characters who behave nonsensically and bad design decisions. But among all these legitimate things to complain about, none annoyed me as much as their stars.

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A Review of a Review of the Mass Effect Trilogy

I stumbled upon a massive, novel-length review of the Mass Effect trilogy written by Shamus Young and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Apart from a few minor annoyances, I found hardly anything I could argue in his analysis. Unlike so many critics within the fandom who focus all their ire on the controversial ending, Shamus asserts that the narrative of Mass Effect lost its cohesion much earlier. He goes on to examine all the major plot developments and several important subplots and demonstrate that the deus ex machina finale that failed so many expectations was inevitable in the context of the numerous storytelling blunders committed throughout the second and third installment.

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An End is Like a Little Death

Last night I finished a novel that I started writing more than seven years ago. It wasn’t the first, or the last novel that I wrote with enthusiasm up to the 90% mark just to burn out on the last hundred yards. I am, of course, happy that I finished it. It’s a quiet kind of happiness: not the kind to make one jump up and down and clap their hands with glee, but more like relief that something that was wrong has finally been righted. I’m also hopeful that it means I might some day finish my other abandoned works and lighten the load of debt and guilt they’ve been weighing me down with.

But at the same time, I’m sad. Sad that it’s done and in a way — gone. A story is born inside the author’s mind, and there it grows and shifts and changes, and so long as it’s not written, it has a peculiar freedom to go in different directions, a potential to develop in different ways. The act of writing turns it from imagination to banal reality and thereby robs it of some of its magic. Infinite possibilities collapse into imperfect words. In a way, a story dies as it’s created.

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Blogging is Hard

A couple months back, I decided to post here weekly. I’m glad I did. It feels great to create content, and even more to look back with a sense of continuity and regularity — to see this site live. I’ve never managed it before. Even when I was active in the Mass Effect fanfiction community and posted about the new stories and chapters I’d written, I couldn’t keep up with a weekly schedule. I’ve grown more disciplined since then, but I also have less free time. It’s hard.

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