Hello, my name is Michael Neidlinger, I am in my junior year of college, and I am a transfer student from Montgomery County Community College. I am majoring in psychology and I hope to join the police once I graduate. My experience with fiction is fairly limited, so if I pick up a fiction piece and finish it, then I believe it was a very well written book. That said, I mostly read non-fiction books. This is in part due to public education, I took more interest in history class than in English class, so I tended to read historical accounts. In an interesting twist, though, I found the stories that seemed the hardest to believe to be the most interesting, which I believe is where my current interest in fiction comes from. That said, I have moved from realistic historical fiction and broadened what I like to include multiple genres. This includes grimdark and fantasy, as well as science fiction and especially adventure as it hearkens back to why I got into fiction in the first place. I would not say that I have a specific favorite author, though I do have a favorite book. That would be The Black Company by Glenn Cook. Company in this sense refers to a free company, which was a military unit hired by a private individual to fight in wars. In a broader sense they are mercenaries, and the men of the black company are fighting in a fantasy setting, a nation called Khatovar, in the midst of a civil war. They are hired to defend the empress from a rebel army, alongside her regular forces. There are no two ways about it, they are fighting for the bad guys. The book is narrated by the company record keeper who generally has a very cynical outlook that can only come from a lifetime of warfare. One of the things I most appreciated about this story is that, while it is centered around mercenaries fighting in a war, a large portion of it is dedicated to the simple boredom that the soldiers face on a day to day basis. They march more than they fight, some of them are illiterate and so the narrator’s job as record keeper is an important one and doubles as that of a storyteller to the men of the black company as well. There are card games, boring moments where the army is held on standby, or is used to set up a defensive position, and on more than one occasion, the soldiers get a visit from the “good idea fairy”. (this being a metaphor for people using quite stupid means to relieve their boredom). In short, it reads like a memoir from a soldier in a fantasy war, rather than a broad narrative of the major conflict he fought in. Transitioning smoothly on to the next question, my experience as a writer is closely tied to my experience as a reader, that being mostly tied to the public education system. I do not normally write all that often outside of classwork, and when I do, it is typically to develop a character, rather than a story. This may just be a personal preference, but I find it easiest, in my limited experience, to write from a narrative perspective and allow the plot to form on its own, if one forms at all. I signed up for this class so I might expand on what limited writing I do and I hope to learn how to more easily write to develop a broader plot, rather than just a fictional narrative. It just seems like a good thing to know if I ever decide to write anything that I want published. Looking over the syllabus, my main concern is this blog. I am taking a couple writing-heavy courses already, so the additional writing on this blog will only add to my stress. However I also think it may serve as a place to unwind because, as the title of the blog suggests, I hope to keep things lighthearted here.