Editing … Editing …

Artwork from the official Sugar Sugar Rune website, by Moyoco Anno.

I wanted to get up another review today, but I have to spend what time is left editing both my own work and another guy’s. I have chapter 21 of Jake and the Dynamo drafted, but it’s not yet ready to go.

I’m starting my new job tomorrow, which is good, but there’s no telling at the moment what that will mean for the schedule around here. Come January, my schedule will definitely get a lot tighter.

There’s a few shows I’d like to discuss this season, but I don’t think I’ll be doing episode-by-episode reviews, as I’m already doing that for two.

I also managed to track down a few volumes of Sugar Sugar Rune, sometimes cited as one of the all-time best cute witch magical girl stories. There was also an anime adaptation that I hear is good, though different in several respects with additional side stories and more magical girl cliches like transformations sequences. The anime broadcast in the U.S., but as far as I have been able to discern, it was never collected on DVD and is not on any legal streaming sites.

The manga is out of print; what I’ve read of it so far lives up to the hype, and it must continue to be good, since people selling it have figured out that they can charge reasonable prices for most of the series and then charge sixty dollars or more for the final volume. The penultimate volume must have one heck of a cliffhanger if they can get anyone to pay that.

“That’s outrageous! … Ah, but I’ll never sleep again if I don’t find out what happens to the broody ten-year-old goth girl with the magic powers!  Fine, here’s eighty bucks, you bastard, and to hell with you!”

Also, the series is being loaded, legally, to the interwebs in full color! But only in Japanese. This series came out in English from Del Rey Manga, and though I never bothered to learn what the story was behind them changing their name to Kodansha Comics, I did notice that they reprinted some of their catalog afterwards. Maybe there’s a chance they’ll reprint this one. I would say, from what I’ve seen, it deserves it.

But anyway, all of this is why the Moon Princess made interlibrary loan. We’ll see if I can manage to get them to loan me the whole series. The bad part of reading it this way is that, even if I can get the whole series, I likely won’t get it in order. I probably should have ordered one volume at a time, but instead I requested the first four … and I got volumes one and three. Volume three, of course, is the one that’s due back first.

Damn you, public library.

NaNoWriMo Is This Month!

Featured image: “Magical Girl Tessa” by Primantis.

Just as a reminder, November is National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve ever wanted to write a whole novel in a single month, now is the time. There is an official website, linked above, where you can get pep talks, track your progress, and so forth.

I am reliably informed that if you hit writer’s block during a NaNoWriMo marathon, “just add ninjas” is a good way to get out of it. This is known as Chandler’s Law, formulated by pulp writer Raymond Chandler, who once said, When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”

This technique has worked for me in the past. Jake and the Dynamo is a story very amenable to Chandler’s Law: I am unashamed to admit that I “just added robot dinosaurs from space” because I didn’t know how else to save Jake’s bacon.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that, after the next two chapters are up, I believe Jake and the Dynamo will have hit the 100,000-word mark. Depending on who you ask, 40,000 is your basic novel length.

The How Not to Write a Novel Quiz

Featured image: “Magical Girl Art” by Chrysolith.

I recently stumbled upon this, a quiz designed, supposedly, to see if you have any clue how to write a novel. It was designed by the writers of How Not to Write a Novel, which I have not had the pleasure of reading, but which purports to show by example how to avoid the mistakes of book-writing.

I got a perfect score, I guess. If I may say so, the score doesn’t surprise me: I have no pretensions of being the next Shakespeare, but I can at least turn out a workmanlike product when I’m halfway sober. However, I think a few of the questions are unfair.

For example, when asking what is a good sentence, it first gives the final line from The Great Gatsby as the “correct” answer, and then gives sentences with obvious typos, and then gives this:

Ever back, to the chthonic quagmire of yesterdays that ate yesterdays in monarchic succession, like crocodiles held vassal to a Pharaoh of loss.

That’s purple, but not horrific. I would accept it, depending on the context. It would be at home in a story by Lovecraft. After all, not everything is The Great Gatsby, nor should it be.


I’d tell you who did the featured image, but I can’t find the original source. But I can tell you that it’s Sugar Sugar Rune fan art.

Sorry for the slow week here. Things are moving along on Jake and the Dynamo. I have a draft of chapter 22, but chapter 21 is still incomplete. Funny, huh?

Pretty soon, I’m going to rearrange the blog. The menu at the top is getting so long, so I’ll be creating a separate page for the Jake and the Dynamo table of contents.

I’ve got various non-blog things going on as well. I should have a new review up tomorrow after I get my act together.

Whatever, I’m Writin’. Have some Pocky.

I was going to post another video I wanted to show you, but I previewed it and … yeah, I can’t show that here. It overstepped my vague semblance of family-friendliness.

I need to be writing something else, so I’m afraid you get another art post.

Here we see a Pocky-themed magical girl, Pocky being a chocolate-covered biscuit stick that’s popular in Japan and appears frequently in manga and anime. As usual, Pinterest screws up my image searches, but I tracked this down to the official Pocky website, apparently an entry in a contest. This same artist, who I believe goes by the name of Mr. RoboT, appears also to have done the magical Pretz girl:


MIT Student Creates Magical Girl Transformation in the Lab … Sort Of

There is a class at MIT called “Indistinguishable from …” in which students are invited to create technology inspired in some fashion by magic from fantasy stories. Project descriptions from the class are posted online.

Back in 2015, one Kyrie Caldwell, social science graduate student, decided to base her project on magical girls. Continue reading “MIT Student Creates Magical Girl Transformation in the Lab … Sort Of”

I Just Magical-Girled Your Steampunkish Sword and Sorcery Game

Well, I mean, I didn’t do it, but …

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a gamer, so this escaped my attention until yesterday. The hugely popular multiplayer online arena combat game League of Legends has gone magical girl.

So I saw an advertisement for something called “Star Guardians.” The ad consisted of a brief but intriguing video involving lush artwork and decent animation depicting a team of five magical girls fighting monsters, followed by a website address. I said to myself, “What is this?” Then I followed the link.

And then, about thirty minutes later, I said to myself, “No, seriously, WTF is this?” In spite of the probably expensive advertising campaign, they didn’t exactly make this thing accessible to outsiders. Continue reading “I Just Magical-Girled Your Steampunkish Sword and Sorcery Game”


“It is friendship that unites us, friendship that defines us, friendship for which we fight. But the time will come when every magical girl must face her final boss—and that, she must face alone.”

—Grease Pencil Marionette

I’m reasonably pleased with the current state of the draft of chapter 20 of Jake and the Dynamo, which for some reason is longer than any of the other chapters thus far. I’ll be passing it on to my writer’s group shortly.

In this long-awaited chapter, Jake’s girlfriend Chelsea finally makes her appearance.  No guarantees that the following passage will actually be in the final draft of the chapter, or whether it will be in this form, but anyway, here we go.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I think Chelsea’s hilarious. Continue reading “Previews!”