Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Noob 23

Video games are predictable, run by carefully crafted scripts.  The real world is much more dynamic.  In a video game turned real, a beast that normally lives in one part of the world might wander elsewhere.  Who knows how the world of Arlayne might evolve now that it's come to life?

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Travel Writer

Diary - Attachment

Thank you to those of you who've offered words of support over the last few days.  I really mean that.  It helps so much to know I'm not alone.  I mean, I have my friends and family, too, but they don't know, can't know, the full extent of what's going on in my head right now.  Not the way you guys can.

My readers are such wonderful people.  I'm struggling right now.  But knowing I have you guys... it makes me feel blessed.  Thank you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Noob 22

My Legends of the Dark Tower captions are all about taking Arlayne seriously, and exploring what it would actually be like to live in a fantasy RPG.  That means acknowledging that fantasy worlds are violent, ugly places, full of ravenous monsters, bands of violent bandits, and armies engaging in constant warfare against each other.  The inevitable result of living in such a violent world, unfortunately, is that peaceful villagers like the ones in Lakeshore would occasionally get caught in the crossfire.

The Noob is not as violent as Final Girl or Subject Twenty-Four.  But it's hard to write a series like this without acknowledging that terrible things would happen in this world.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Noob 21

OMG, this was such a bad caption for me to have to post today.  I always review my captions before I post them; reading this one made me cry.  Again.  I'm so sick of crying right now.

I'm not in a good place right now.  But I'm going to try to keep posting anyway.  It's so easy for me to want to stop doing... anything.  To let grief swallow me up.  I need to keep moving.  As hard as that is right now.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Diary - Break

My boyfriend, M, broke up with me last night.

I'm not ready to talk about it.  My hands are still shaking as I write this.  I didn't sleep last night.  I cried until I couldn't cry anymore and then I couldn't sleep.

This is the first time I've ever broken up with someone.  I don't know how to do this.  I don't know how to leave someone.  I don't know how to move on...

I'll be okay.  But right now I'm really, really, really not okay.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

CK Loves LL

Because it's weird that all of Superman's love interests and his mortal foe all have the initials LL, right?  It's weird.

I grew up reading Superman comics, so this was a fun caption to write.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Noob 18

As of this series, we're a third of the way through The Noob.  Told you it was a long series. :)

I considered having Arthelion call Evan by a different name here... but, because he's not from Earth, he wouldn't necessarily know that "Evan" is a man's name, so I just decided to let him call Evan "Evan."

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Diary - Hair Dye

I've used a picture of myself with blue hair in a previous caption.

(The warhammer in that picture, of course, was Photoshopped; you can see the pixels.  But the hairs was real!)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Noob 17

The plot has slowed down a lot while the boys have been in Greywall; here's where things start to pick up again.  Expect to see more forward momentum from here on.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Friday, March 17, 2017


This was... a tricky one to write.  I've read stories and captions about overtly racist men who become women of color.  I wanted to write a caption about a man who, while not floridly racist, does have the sort of old-fashioned, more subtly problematic views on race that a man like Walter might have, but who is trying to be open-minded.

I wrote this one a long time ago, but I've hesitated to put it up.  The discourse around race and racism in the United States these days is... tense.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Noob 16

It was established in the very first Legends of the Dark Tower caption I ever wrote that players have a hard time figuring out how magic works.  I don't think it's something that would come naturally.  Players in LotDT get their characters' abilities, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they immediately know how to use those abilities.

The way I picture it is this: you have a basic idea of how to swing a sword, though you probably don't know how to swing it well.  But when a goblin jumps out of the bushes and starts stabbing you in the legs, you draw your sword and swing it... and wow, that went so much better than you expected.  It's like you've been practicing swordfighting for years.

But with magic, where would you even start?  There's no equivalent to just swinging your sword and hoping for the best.  Once you figure out how to cast a spell, sure, you would probably be great at it.  But first you would have to figure out how to activate the spell in the first place.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


If you were transformed into a woman (or into anyone or anything else, for that matter), I don't think it would be easy to convince anyone of that fact.  In fiction and movies and TV shows, if you want to convince your loved ones that you are who you say you are, all you have to do is talk about some obscure memory you have, or some secret someone told you at some point... but I don't think it would be that easy.  If a woman came up to me claiming to be my friend Bill and tried to prove it by repeating some embarrassing secret I told him, I wouldn't think, "Hey, this woman really is Bill!"  I would think, "Hey, why is Bill spreading this embarrassing secret about me?  I'm never going to trust him with a secret again."

Well, I probably wouldn't, because I know that transformation is real.  I'm living walking blogging proof of that.  But that's probably how most people would react.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Noob 15

Elven women get fetishized a lot in fantasy fiction.  They're beautiful, delicate, and feminine, and exotic enough to be interesting while human enough to fit within society's standards for beauty.

Or maybe it's the ears.  Who knows?

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Where the Genderwave universe gets tricky to write about, for me at least, is when dealing with jobs and activities that are very gender-specific.  Like, take Claire here.  As Ricky, she was a construction worker, which is an overwhelmingly male-dominated career field.  In the gender-flipped reality created by the Genderwave, are most construction workers women?  Or do a bunch of former women get shifted into construction jobs at random, while the former men who used to be construction workers get bumped into their jobs?  And what about professional sports?  I guess you could have players from the NBA and the WNBA switch places, but what about something like football?  I like the Genderwave universe, but it's not the easiest universe to work with.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Noob 13

Evan and Gwen are not the only players who ended up with these particular settings for their character model; here's another caption featuring a lookalike of Evan, also on his way to Greywall.  Clearly, this is a very popular look.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Diary - The Gynecologist

The top half of this picture is cropped out so you can't see how furiously I'm blushing.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Not Interested

If you've been following my diary captions, you'll know that, before my transformation, I identified as asexual, but that I've been trying to sort through the emergence of some sexual desire since my transformation.  I thought it might be interesting to explore the inverse of this in a caption.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Noob 10

Gahhhhh gahhhhh minor glitch where I set this to upload at 7AM EST instead of 7PM EST, which screwed some things up.  And then I deleted it, which screwed things up even more.  So now I'm just setting it to upload now, at 2PMish EST, which probably screws things up even more, and means my diary caption gets swallowed up, and... you know what?  Whatever.

Blogger is hard.

This is the only caption in this series that uses an image that's not from The Shannara Chronicles; the image in the upper left is a picture of Minas Tirith from Return of the King.  I couldn't find any images in The Shannara Chronicles that really fit my picture of Greywall.

One thing this series allows me to do is to connect the world of Arlayne a bit better, to give a feel for its scale and show how different locations fit together.  Until now, I've only been able to show little pieces of the world; but Evan and Paul travel a considerable distance over the course of this series, which allows me to give you guys a better picture of the world as a whole.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Diary - Bathroom Selfie

I don't often talk directly about politics here, but trans rights are a subject that hits especially close to home for me.  Even if they don't affect me directly anymore, they did once, and I think I'm in a unique position, as a transwoman in a ciswoman's body, to contribute to this discussion.

I know this is a controversial topic (and kind of an awkward one to discuss, btw), and I really do understand why people would object to letting trans people, and especially transwomen, use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.  But that makes it all the more important that I, with my unique experience, speak up about this.  People need to know how illusory the threat of transwomen assaulting ciswomen and children actually is, and how real the danger from trans people of having to use the wrong restroom is.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Noob 9

J.R.R. Tolkien was, of course, the father of modern fantasy elves; while he wasn't the first person, or even the first modern fantasy writer, to write about elves, the way elves have been depicted in fantasy fiction for the last 50+ years has essentially grown out of Tolkien's elves.

But the evolution of elves since Tolkien hasn't been perfectly straightforward.  There are essentially two ways to interpret Tolkien-style elves.  By one reading, elves are a wise and powerful elder race living in grand and ornate cities and practicing powerful magic; by the other, they're reclusive tree huggers who live in remote forest villages or tree cities and are skilled in archery and stealth.  Many RPGs have dealt with these divergent readings by having two or more separate races of elves.  "Urban" elves are often referred to as "high elves" and "nature" elves are often referred to as "wood elves."

Dungeons and Dragons gave us a third major division of elves: dark elves.  Dark elves are an outcast race, often evil, often with unnatural skin tones, often living underground, and often at war with other types of elves.

The world of Legends of the Dark Tower has these same basic subspecies of elves: high elves (city-dwellers), green elves (forest-dwellers), and deep elves (outcasts).  I've written up a bit of lore explaining how the three elven cultures diverged from one another, and tied it to the lore around angelkin, demonkin, and the Dark Lord Zardan.

I don't pretend that the world of LotDT is especially unique.  Arlayne is by design a pastiche world, allowing me to play with and gently mock fantasy tropes.  But I've tried to at least make it internally consistent, because it would bug me if it weren't.

You can follow this and my other series on my series page.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Actions Have Consequences

But before I put up another part of Beat the Heat...

I wrote this caption before I started writing Beat the Heat.  I haven't posted it, because I didn't want to put up a caption with Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick when I was already using them for another series.  But since it's been ages since I've posted a Beat the Heat caption, it's probably safe to put this up now.