Final Write-Up

This is part one of my final write-up/presentation. Here is part two: a board in Lino.

Where to begin, or when to begin… Well, as of right this moment I’ve made 150 edits on the AbaratWiki. That’s pretty good, I think, but it’s not nearly as much as I’d want. But who says I’m going to stop? Just recently I’ve petitioned the website Wikia’s adoption page for Admin and Bureaucrat rights to the site. The request was granted and now I’ve become the only Admin and Bureaucrat. Admins have some special rights, such as deleting, un-deleting, or protecting pages. They can block named or anon. users. A Bureaucrat is more of an advanced Admin who can make other users Admins, along with having the other special rights of Admins.

So now on to the project itself… Most importantly, I’ve learned a wiki is not something you jump into with the thought of making vast improvements easily. I suppose it also depends on what wiki you are working with. A book series wiki takes a lot of page flipping, or for the eBook reader, button or screen tapping. I’ve reread book one at least twice since starting the project, and that doesn’t include going back and looking for facts and character descriptions. I am not done with my book two summary because the book is at least 150 pages longer than the first.

While a faster summary could have been made up to fit the overall plot, I don’t want to go that route because a lot of important stuff happens and if I added that later it would’ve felt like building a house’s walls and then trying to put the wiring in afterward. There are simply too many smaller details to fill in the the large picture. Book Two is all about the preparation and/or building tensions of a war between Day and Night while Candy struggles to find a concrete place in the Abarat. There are a lot of revelations in the book and the summary should be nearly the same length or longer than the first I wrote.

The third book will be the real challenge. Absolute Midnight. It is the book I am least familiar with. I’ve only read it once, not counting the numerous times I’ve just flipped through and reread chapters or looked at the cool illustrations. The book is the longest so far and has a lot of elements to write down. In that book, we see the war between Night and Day take on its full form when nearly the entire archipelago of the Abarat is covered in darkness by the evil Mater Motley. But that’s a tale for a different time…

The part I most enjoyed about this wiki was pressing the publish button and seeing what I had created or edited take form on the page. As stated in my Project Proposal, I was disappointed by the state of this wiki from the first time I visited it. The articles were not only too short, they were inaccurate. One was just a collection of random letters. When I made my improvements the only place the wiki could go was up. And without sounding too complimentary to myself, I believe the quality has gone up.

There is now a Welcome Page with links to the most popular or relevant (in my opinion at least) articles. The Welcome Page actually just used to be this page with a little less info, but it wasn’t clearly navigable. The main characters and each book now have infoboxes, and there are many more to come. The infobox template is a little bit restricted to use in visual mode, so I’ve been trying to learn source code more and more, but that will take some time.

I’ve created red links on certain words to remind me that they need to be made. Specifically, I’ve done this with each of the islands that don’t have articles yet. I think I can understand why the original creators of the wiki didn’t make all of them. Not every island is visited by the main characters. Only a few islands have been a part of the plot points. Interestingly enough, there was no article for the island of Ninnyhammer, which is the second island Candy makes explores. The red links will keep me in line and give me a visible goal to work at.

I leave off on this by saying farewell to all my classmates I have met in Webblogs and Wikis. If any of you keep up with your blog posts that I’m following I might read a few or comment every once in a while. And I don’t usually unfollow anyone on Twitter so if you keep those we might be in touch also. It was great reading your words and opinions this semester. So to all in the class, students and professor, I leave you with the beginning poem of book three, Absolute Midnight, just to end with a little bit of mystery and fear…

There’ll be no sun tomorrow morning

There’ll be no moon to bless the night

The stars will perish without warning

These lines proclaim the death of light.

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Project Reflection #5

Week Five was actually the most productive week for me, I think.

First off, I should comment of the last few blog posts I made for the project, though I will continue this blog probably until… I don’t know, if the series ever ends or I lose interest in it. The latter is not likely at all.

The first post I made was about the royal family of the Daylight Hours. The posts I’ve edited/created in this category are King Claus, Princess Boa, and Finnegan Hobb. The main royal we hear about throughout book one and two is Princess Boa who spurned Christopher Carrion and instead married Finnegan Hobb, and seconds after their vows a dragon killed her. That’s not spoilery because the moment we’re introduced to her name by the crew of the Belbelo we know she was a tragic figure. I talk about how Boa is presented to us using the popular website TVTropes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I have yet to tell. I need to branch out to more Abarat readers. The royal family of Day in Abarat is a pretty sad group altogether. The king grew fat in grief, the Bridegroom prince went on a killing vendetta, and the Crown Prince Quiffin went mostly under the radar. I think the age of monarchy is past in Abarat but anything is possible for the last two books.

I made another post discussing the navigation aspects of making a wiki, which I have classmate Jordan Malm to thank for the suggestion. The wikis I enjoy are those that are easily navigable with links in every corner and pictures to compliment. There were no such things on AbaratWiki and I didn’t make them until late. Source code/JavaScript is still very confusing for me so the Welcome Page still looks a little bland even with the new navigation box. In case you like it, that painting you see is my favorite image painted for the books. It’s called The Beautiful Moment and it depicts every island in the Abarat including the Time Out Of Time. I also decided to add Infoboxes to every major character because they make it easy to get the basic stats on a character, though I still have some formatting trouble. I’ve made an Infobox for Candy, Malingo, Christopher Carrion, and Mater Motley. That was interesting as I can’t be entirely sure if Carrion and Mater are completely human. They’re quite magical and are painted to look like zombies. I also formatted their pages and info in the layout that I prefer. I’ll talk about that later.

I learned how to add sources, but I haven’t learned how to have the link take the reader to the exact part of the website that includes the quotes by the author. Those are the sources I use, by the way, only words spewed by the author from Facebook, Twitter, or interviews he’s done. They’re all nicely listed on the author’s website. Quotes can be found there that go all the way back to the early-to-mid nineties when Abarat was originally a collection of 25 short stories called Clive Barker’s Book of Hours. The pages I added sources to are here and here. They are the articles for the last two books in the series yet to be published.

In this post that borders on lecture and immaturity, I take one section of the article on Christopher Carrion, tell what is wrong with it, and then show what I added. I’m not going to claim to have perfect grammar, and small errors are nothing to be too upset about but this section about Carrion’s abilities was written very badly. I can’t say I blame them for they obviously had read the books and knew the basics of what they were saying but they did not phrase it well. Also, I completely changed the layout of the character pages that were created before I started here because I feel like they gave away too much information in all the wrong places. If a reader is on the wiki it’s their own fault if they see a spoiler, but I believe the information should be quite sequential to what happens in the books. For instance, on the page for Candy I start with an appearance and character section, a layout idea I learned from A Wiki of Ice and Fire. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but there is one part I wasn’t sure about leaving. When talking about her hair, someone else had wrote “She cuts it short to hide along some monks on Sona Plume.” While that does happen early in book two, it doesn’t really give anything away so I left it there. Before I had changed it the first section was title Overview and it gave away the biggest plot detail in Candy’s life that is supposed to be a shock at the end of book two, though experienced readers may figure it out. I’ve said it on this blog before so I’ll say it again. Candy has the soul of the dead Princess Boa attached to her own. That information is revealed later, so I feel it should be put later in the article, which it has been. It’s lonely right now, but it shall have to be patient until I finish a decent summary.

I didn’t get to make a post on making a more in-depth article on my favorite character Malingo and his strange species Geshrats, but I wish I had the time. I really like the relationship that develops between Malingo and Candy. It’s not exactly romantic, though I’d like it if it was. Candy inspires him to rise about his master and he is able to go from slave to independent character. Geshrats are a very looked down upon species in the Abarat, but I really like them. Well, Malingo is the only one that shows up and as such gives us a taste of what their potential is.

That was my week on the wiki, my last week of the my Wiki Project, but not my last week of editing it. My new mission is putting infoboxes on every character that has a large influence on the plot or is connected to the main characters and learning all about source code to make some great box formats. Actually my old mission isn’t complete and probably never will be, for a wiki is constantly changing. I’ve put in a request to ‘adopt’ the wiki and become the main administrator/bureaucrat. I’m hoping it gets approved.

I leave off with a video based on the painting I mentioned earlier, The Beautiful Moment. It features an interactive look at the background image I’ve chosen for this blog.

 

Correction

I figured that if I’m going to do article clean-ups, I should at least show the proof a bit. This is the following text under a section titled “Abilities” for the character Christopher Carrion.

“Carrion uses nightmares found in his liquid collar to send nightmares to his prisoners. These nightmares are monsters that swim from inside Carrions brain into his collar made of flesh. They give off a eerie light. These nightmares instile fear inside Carrions enemies and his prisoners often do not survive. Many people know of these nightmares and fear them greatly for they make your greates nightmares come true. Carrion’s collar later breakes in a fight with Mater Motley and his nightmares multiply rapidly in hopes of protecting their master.”

This is wrong, and confusing for a mental picture. First it states that his nightmares are found in his “liquid collar.” Yes, I realize they mean a collar filled with liquid, but the placement of the words suggests his collar is made of liquid to me. Then it states that the nightmares are “monsters that swim from inside Carrions brain into his collar made of flesh. They give off a eerie light.” First I guess I’ll make fun of their grammar the Facebook way. *Carrion’s *an eerie. Secondly, this is a very bad way to describe it in my opinion. When it describes the nightmares as monsters, it suggest some sort of physical form. Maybe like a leprechuan sized yeti with wings? What else comes to mind when you say monster? My way of desribing the nightmares are snakish forms of lightning. That at least fits in with the next description of them giving off an eerie light. The worst part about this is that it states that nightmares swim from his brain into his “collar made of flesh.” First it was liquid, now it’s flesh? I don’t want to be too critical but I have to call into question the credibility of whoever wrote this. Carrion’s collar that wraps around his head is not made of liquid or flesh. It’s not specified what it is made out of, but it does say “translucent material.” I picture dsome sort of plastic or polycarbonate when I first read about Carrion. Later its suggested it’s a type of glass. But when they say collar made of liquid, I think some sort of suspended water or even gelatin. When they say collar made of flesh, I’m think some animal or human’s skin and muscle ripped off and sewed into a collar. That’s certainly not out of Carrion’s range of evil doings, but clearly not how the book describes his collar. The picture in the article shows Carrion, his collars, and his nightmares, so I’m not sure just how the editor who wrote that got so far off.

Anyways, I’ve replaced the “Abilities” description with this:

Carrion is a very gifted sorcerer, able to conjure a great many things. He can use the powdered bones of a mummified body to create a giant moth, and also see through the eyes of it. Somehow he has found a way to harness his nightmares in a semi-corporeal form as long, snaky forms of lightning. With these he is said to be able to relive his nightmares when they run against his skin. He also suggested that he is able to interrogate dead bodies if he has to.

Although, I have to say I’m really not too partial on an abilities section, but I’ll leave it up for now until I find a better way to say what needs to be said about his particular brand of dark magic.

Happy Nightmares.

Sources and Navigation

Today I begin work on adding sources to the articles that have information that comes from anything other than the book, such as the article for book four, Abarat: The Price of Dreams.

WHICH THE AUTHOR HAS JUST ANNOUNCED IS FINISHED AND WILL BE GOING THROUGH A SELF-EDITING PHASE!!!

Sorry, I’m back. That was the fourteen year old part of me.

So using advice from Jordan Malm, I’ve started to add navigation tools to start a clean-up phase. The past four weeks I’ve barely scratched the surface on cleaning the wiki and focused on adding content. These are what I’ve got so far. I’ve made the main page a welcoming page with a box for articles that beginners will probably be interested in, the books, main characters… I had to use source code, which is a concept that I’ve never really used before so for now it will be a little messy. But now the page has five easy links to the books, and the characters. Until I get a better knowledge of using source code, I’ll keep the welcome page as is but I’m not a very big fan of it.

This page here is the first time I’ve used an infobox. I think it’s a great edition even though its a little bit uneven than I would like. My next process will be adding infoboxes to all the main characters, possibly places and islands. It’s a tool that is very helpful in almost all other wikis I’ve used.

Finally, today I’m going to start adding sources to the few articles that I include quotes from the author and/or future plans by him indicated by interviews and his online presence. Like my earlier burst of enthusiasm, I will take Clive Barker’s Facebook post which announced that the initial draft is done and use it as a source. After the book comes out I’m sure I’ll clean that up even more.

Also, I’ll be linking every wiki page to every other wiki page, helping with the much needed navigation.

Abaratian Royalty

So in the midst of creating the articles and summaries that I thought needed to be done immediately, I forgot that one of the things I also wanted to focus on was cleaning the articles. I have done this but I haven’t made it clear which ones. Tonight I am writing this post to talk about the articles I have recently edited, why I chose the way I edited them, and talking about the royal families of the Abarat.

We start with the Princess Boa. From her first mention in the series, in Gallows Forest by a soul-searching Christopher Carrion, we’re introduced to a character who was well-loved. Carrion, a man whose grandmother actually sewed his lips together because he said the word love, fully admits to himself that he loved her. He wanted to marry her because she was a daughter of the King of Day and he was the Lord of Midnight. Their union would bring peace. But Boa had doubts about it all even though her father and brother Prince Quiffin were all for the marriage and its potential for daylight and nighttime alliances. Carrion believed it would actually lead to an Age of Everlasting Love, as he remembers writing in one of the letters he sent when courting her. The Fantomaya believed her soul was important to the future of the Abarat. I don’t want to give it away too much, but her soul still is important. Hehe.

So Princess Boa is presented to us as what TVTropes calls the Princess Classic. I would like to once again stress that when I mention TVTropes I don’t mean to criticize the story, as it is one my absolute favorites, but Tropes are in literally everything. They can be cliche at times but everything has them. And also, we find out later that Boa’s character is more, for lack of better word, complex than the initial praising we hear of her.

I edited her article to make it easier to read. It introduces her as a character. It has an Appearance and Character section where I discuss her back story, personality/other traits, and her looks, though that last one is a little slim on details. I’ve based this format on A Wiki of Ice and Fire’s format for characters. I also did this to prevent spoilers from being seen so easily. There used to be an Overview section and below that an In The Books section with three smaller places for her role in each book. But none of the Roles were filled out, and the Overview had information from all three books in it, some quite spoilerific. If no one claims that word soon I declare it mine. So I got rid of all those and just moved around the information. Get ready for the spoilers now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Stop reading now if you are in book one and don’t want to know.

Boa’s soul after she died was attached to Candy’s soul. It’s heavily suggested in book one with various hints, but nothing is actually said about it. Its confirmed at the end of book two, which if you’re a fan like me left you feeling like Boa finally speaking to Candy was such a great scene and suggested good things to come. Couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t want to outright say it, but Boa is less like the paragon of innocent Princesses and more like this. I love you, TVTropes.

So next, we have King Claus of Day and Finnegan Hobb the Bridegroom. King Claus is Boa’s father. After her death, Claus became a compulsive eater in his grief and some say he weighs over 1000 pounds. He lives, eats, and travels in a large car. TVTropes classifies him as Adipose Rex, a common trope that involves a king that is obese. The only things that connect him is the fact that he is a king and he is obese. We don’t know his other personality traits because he’s not made an appearance yet, so his personality doesn’t fit the traditional jolly fat king who parties all the time. That’s the fun of tropes, but I digress. Then again, that’s about it for King Claus. Good king of daylight, daughter died, he was sad about it and (quite understandably I’d say) ate a lot in mourning.

Lastly, we have Finnegan Hobb. He is the Bridegroom of Princess Boa, formerly at least. Ever since she was slain, he has had a vendetta against dragons, or worms as they’re called, because these dragons are not noble enough to take on the title dragon. He spends the sixteen years after Boa’s death hunting down and killing worms. This had been compared to the character of Prince Rillian of The Chronicles of Narnia who goes on a quest to kill the green serpent who kills his mother but goes missing for years. Not a plagiarism or rip-off in my mind because Finnegan wasn’t kidnapped. More of a homage, and I love homages. Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down The Bones says the it’s arrogant for a writer to think their writing is original and we are all influenced by what we read. If Finnegan is meant as a homage to Rillian that is nothing out of the ordinary for writers to do. I’ve actually started to read the books with a more lurking eye because I do believe he makes some homages to other works at times. I’ll try to make a post about this later, but for now I’ll just say that Kaspar Wolfswinkel is an interesting version of a Mad Hatter.

Finnegan is eventually found by the crew of the sunken Belbelo on the Nonce, the island at three o’clock in the afternoon. He is in the midst of a dragon battle. I know I’ve praised TVTropes a lot in this and other posts, but here is a place where I think they are quite wrong. They qualify Finnegan’s vendetta against worms as the “Love Makes You Evil” trope, stating Finnegan Hob’s love for Princess Boa causes him to commit mass genocide against all dragons when a single dragon kills Boa. Genocide it may be, but I fail to understand why that’s considered evil in this story’s context. The worms here, while able to speak and even have a royal seat, the Scaly Throne, and the concept of heirs, are nothing but evil. Every instance we see them they are needlessly killing and trying to eat relatively peaceful creatures. They especially love eating children. In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, a character named Melisandre says “If half an onion is black with rot, it is a rotten onion. A man is good or he is evil.” While certainly up for debate, especially in that series’ world with so many blurred lines of morality, the message speaks volumes I think. There is good, and there is evil. Daylight in the Abarat is usually considered good whereas Nighttime is evil. There are exceptions but early on in the series we are told there is perfect evil and perfect good in Abarat. Just refer back to this posts’ opening line, the opening line of the series. So I don’t consider Finnegan’s vendetta against the worms evil. The worms are evil.

That’s all I have tonight

Project Reflection #2

I figured it might be easy to take the weeks by certain themes. The theme I wanted this week was the Twenty-Fifth Hour, the Time Out Of Time, Odom’s Spire. It is the most mysterious island in the Abarat. That’s where I feel I made a bit of a mistake.

I did three articles.

1. The Fantomaya

2. Abraham Hollow

3. The Fugit Brothers

In this post, I go into detail about the Fantomaya’s notability. Now, the Fantomaya make appearances often enough. They are the only characters in the prologue (strictly speaking), and they help out and guide Candy at random moments. Only one, Diamanda, really has a back story that is revealed. I didn’t go into too much detail there, but she was once married to a mortal, non-magical man. Joephi and Mespa are harder to speak about. Its been awhile since I reread the third book, but I don’t remember any more revelations about them. Joephi is wild, and Mespa has eyes the color of the night sky.

It doesn’t seem like much but even less is revealed about the other characters I made articles about. The three characters have very little information as of right now, so I did one post about all of them.

Abraham Hollow is very old with black spectacles and scarlet robes. He is the Keeper of the Twenty-Fifth and doesn’t allow outsiders in. That is literally all that I know about him right now. Until the last two books come out, I’ll have to wait and find out more about this mysterious Keeper. But just the fact that the mysterious island that no one can enter has a “keeper” and obvious signs of inhabitants gives ol Abraham notability to me.

As for his minions, Tempus and Julius Fugit, I can’t really say if they’re going to be important later on. Certainly they have a good role to play for Abraham. They kill to keep the islands secrets, or they make people insane because who believes madmen anyway?

So there you have it. Three mysterious articles about five mysterious people who dwell on one mysterious island. I really wish I did more this week. I did make some small edits on other articles, including that ghastly joke someone made of the final book’s page. The only thing I keep forgetting about is sources, as explained here.

I once had a Facebook question answered by the author himself during a Q&A. I asked if he had an estimation on when the fourth book might be completely. He basically said he wanted to give no promises only to have delays like book three. But the point is Clive Barker does interact and keep updates about his work. Many quotes about the future of Abarat are available on his website called The Beautiful Moment. As of right now, I haven’t been able to mark that as a source on the pages that need it, such as the remaining two books. One interesting thing that I did find was an Abarat Lexicon that has actually been a great help with names and artwork. But it lacks the organization and detail I want the wiki to have. This site will definitely be on the source list in the future. Also, this one too. Its a list of quotes the author has made pertaining to the books, including the confirmed names of the last two.

Perhaps I shouldn’t give weeks a theme to work with. After all, in the Abarat all life and islands are supposed to be connected by a skein; a thread that binds all together. I’m almost done with my book one summary. Trouble is, I’m not sure which smalls details to include.
This week has been a challenge with my other classes, this one, and my work. Next week, I move onto book two characters and a much-needed book three reread.

Mysteries and Monsters of the Twenty-Fifth

A criminal who happened to make it out of the Twenty-Fifth Hour came out of it as a poet named Righteous Bandy. He, like many others who were lucky enough to make it out of the mysterious island, was happily insane. One of the things he wrote was that “Every mystery of the Abarat has its solution here; every enchantment its source, every prayer its destination.”

Indeed, the island is set up to have many mysteries associated with it. When Candy gets her first glimpse of it through the eyes of a telescope squid attached to her face (I repeat, a telescope squid attached to her face) the island is hard to look at because of the strange movements of the clouds around it. The light plays tricks with the eyes and doesn’t allow so much as a small glimpse of the island. Something or someone clearly doesn’t want the island disturbed.

That someone is a man named Abraham Hollow. Next to nothing is known about him in the text. He is called the Keeper of the Twenty-Fifth Island by the Fantomaya. He makes a small appearance in a doorway located in an unknown . infinite darkness. He wears scarlet robes and is very old. A giant rat named Tattle, true to its name, informs him of people who make it onto the island. That doesn’t sit well with him. This man does not want outsiders in this place. But don’t worry, he has a plan. It’s a brutal one too.

Que the Fugit Brothers! Man, are these guys creepy.

Do you see those spiders on his face? Oh wait, that IS his face!

Do you see those spiders on his face? Oh wait, that IS his face!

Not sure if this is Tempus or Julius Fugit. It could be either one of them. That’s why I decided to create their article as just one. Actually, that is the same reason I made the Fantomaya and the John Brothers into one article. Maybe the Fantomaya, could have individual articles, but essentially these are one-character groups. The Fantomaya are rarely seen alone, though that does happen. The John Brothers literally can’t be alone since they share a body.

But back to the Fugit Brothers. They’re the minions of Abraham Hollow. They enjoy killing, according to their dark banter as they chase after Candy. They threaten to tear her heart out at one point. Their gruesome facial features are what Candy speculates to be the reason those who make it out of the Twenty-Fifth go insane. In fact, when she escapes, she is muttering incoherently, but when her buddy Malingo suspects she’s gone insane she snaps out of it and insists she’s not. I’m not sure if the text entirely suggests this, but I personally think that if Malingo wasn’t with her she would have gone insane. To me, that also shows the importance of the Candy/Malingo relationship.

Since the content of both articles, Abraham and the Fugit Brothers, is very small, I’ve decided to combine it in one blog post. All three articles I’ve created this week have some connection to the Time Out Of Time, whether good or bad. My personal prediction is that Candy will go there (that is confirmed by the Fantomaya but it has yet to happen) and somehow interact with Abraham Hollow. Whether he will receive her well or not is up for pure speculative debate. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the Fugit Brothers in more than just a “minion” light. I’d like to learn if they’re decent characters to interact with when they’re not killing or making people go crazy. Maybe we’ll gain an insight on what it’s like to have a face that moves around like bugs.

Or maybe that’s something we should never ever have to learn. I mean, just scroll up and look at it again!

That’s it for this week. May your travels be safe from mantizacs.