This post was first posted on on February 4th, 2016.

This morning I got an email saying my last two assignments from last semester were ready to be picked up. I got a little excited and went straight to collect them even though I was late for a meeting. It would have been embarrassing if my marks had been bad. Thankfully they were not. In fact, they were two of the best marks I’ve ever gotten in university.

For the rest of the day, I went around feeling happier than usual. Work put a bit of a damper on my day—my coworker called in sick so I had to close on my own which takes extra time that I’m not paid for—and I was late to meet a friend for dinner, but I was happier than I otherwise would have been.

But now that the day is over and I’ve settled down enough to decipher my teachers’ handwriting, and I’m reading through work that I haven’t looked at in three weeks, all that pride is slowly slipping away. I’m here alone in my room reading over my stuff with a pen, finding typos my teachers left un-circled and inconsistencies left unchecked.

My stuff is shit.

But let’s not get too far into that. Let’s just have some fun with these assignments. Here are some fun facts about stuff you’ve never heard of and probably don’t care about.

Let’s pretend this is Willow.

First off, my fiction piece. I handed in the first chapter of a YA contemporary fiction novel called Willow & James. (Read it here!)

  • I listened to the Beatles a lot when I was writing this, as evidenced by the line “the sky was a kaleidoscope of colours.” The most flowery prose I could come up with and I stole it from a song.
  • There were these two secondary characters whom I originally named Bonnie and Oliver. One day in class, Andy, my teacher for this module, read it out and called Bonnie Olive by mistake (how he managed to mix up those names, I have no idea), and then joked that she was more of an Olive anyway. So I made Bonnie into Olive and Oliver into Bobby.
  • James plays lacrosse because it’s Canada’s official sport. I imagined the story took place somewhere in the suburbs of America, but I managed to put part of my homeland into it somehow.
  • Willow is into drama because of High School Musical. It was the most typical teenage love story I have ever seen, so it was always in the back of my mind while I wrote this.
  • Other pop culture references include Grease, Eleanor & Park, and anything Nicholas Sparks has ever touched.
  • Doctor Octopus is not a real thing. However, there’s Doctor Strange, which I was studying for another class at the time of writing, and there’s Octodad, a ridiculous game my brother likes. (Edit: Doctor Octopus IS a real thing. But not something I thought about when I made this up.)
  • Cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cone with a cherry on top. Because I was never allowed to get a waffle cone or cherry because they cost extra. I was living vicariously through my characters the experience of being able to order that exact ice cream.
  • A dog named Daisy. I imagine Daisy as a golden retriever, middle-aged, slightly obese, thinks she’s still a puppy who fits on laps and in small spaces and has no self-control. Oh, look at that. I’ve developed the dog more than some of the other characters.
  • The ending kept changing. Shortly after I started writing the story, I found myself in eerily similar circumstances as my characters were in. The ending changed as my feelings about my own situation changed. As a result, it you were to hyper-analyze the hell out of this piece, you’d probably be able to map out my personal life of the time based on where the story seems to be going on any given line.

Someday if I ever publish Willow & James, people might be interested in reading this list. For now, I think it’s just fun to write. It’s nice to look at it without a critical eye and instead just think about how much fun I had writing it. Sometimes I think I forget how much fun it is to write.

Canton, late 1800s.

My script will be a bit more difficult because I’m still working on it this semester. I’m still having to look at it critically and trying to improve it, but I’ll try my best.

  • This was based on a true story in which the three main characters were named Cheng I, Chung Po, and Ching Shi. Their names were literally Cheng, Chung, and Ching. Everybody else in the story had vastly different names that would never get mixed up by a general audience, but theirs I had to change.
  • I discovered while writing this script that there’s really no way to write a pirate movie without thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s always in the back of your mind, how it will be similar, how it will be different, etc.
  • Well what’d ya know? My two leads had nods in the third Pirates of the Caribbean film. At least I know whatever I do, my versions of them will never be as inaccurate as Disney’s was.
  • The first scene mostly takes place in the city of Guangzhou. Also called Canton. I dunno why I didn’t just call it Canton in the first place, it’s way easier to spell.
    I described Canton as a town on the coast. I had read in my research that it was a town on the edge of the ocean. I found out after handing in my piece that it was literally ON the edge of the ocean. The city was in some ways comparable to Venice: it was a city of water. Everyone lived on and got around with boats because the city floated on the ocean. That’s going to be a pain to rewrite. Thankfully my teacher hadn’t done as much research as I had and he had no idea about any of this.
  • I have a different teacher overlooking its development now and we were talking. He was all like, oh, so there’s more than one boat under their command? And I was like, yeah, there were about one thousand six hundred different vessels in the fleet. And then he was all :O  …I guess I forgot to mention I was writing about the most successful pirate ever.

That’s all for now. I think I’ll stop looking at my mistakes and just bask in this glory a little longer. Not too much longer though; I need to update my progress on the script by next week.

Edit: Canton isn’t really on water like I thought it was, but it is comparable to Venice. There were a lot of canals and buildings that backed onto them and stuff.