I am not lost…

October 14, 2016

NANO FICTION FRIDAY: Dana Cantrell

So let’s take the character from Monday’s adventure, and start throwing him into some mess, shall we? You’ll see as I start to write this how quickly the rest of the world begins to form around him, how setting and character and plot start to get all jumbled up together. I’ve tried to keep this fairly firmly on Dana himself, but…well, it’s hard when there’s no mirror around. At least, I don’t think there is…

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The door slammed shut behind me, the dark and silence inside worlds more welcoming than the howling chaos outside. What the hell is happening? I couldn’t see where I’d been running; I didn’t know how far from the house I’d gotten. Had I actually gotten away from the house? Looking around, I wasn’t with anyone, as far as I could tell. The tiny little room was entirely devoid of people. I could just make out the edges of some shelves, but aside from that…I was alone.

Alone and the world was falling apart around me. Why did that feel like the story of my life?

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June 13, 2016

What You See and What You Get

I’m not positive, but I feel like I’ve probably mentioned the video game UNDERTALE on this blog before. (Almost put “channel.” Can you tell I’m on YouTube too much?) It’s an amazing game with some of the best cause-and-effect mechanics I’ve ever seen in a video game. But more than that, I’ve always been impressed with their character development. The characters have depth, they change, they grow. And in at least two occasions, we meet characters who turn out to be very different indeed from who we thought they were the first time.

I adore characters who defy expectations. These two do it perfectly.

(If you couldn’t have guessed, there are MAJOR Undertale spoilers beneath the cut, for both the Pacifist and No Mercy/”Genocide” ending. You have been warned.)

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May 2, 2016

Tell Me Why I Should Care About You

(As a side note: as of May 1st, my car has–we’re fairly certain–completely died. Something has croaked in the engine and for a 17 year old car, I can’t afford to replace the engine. The trouble is, neither can I afford a new car. As such, I’m having to crash away from my apartment and closer to where I work so that I can carpool with people to get to my Day Job–which makes writing posts and whatnot a bit harder. I am going to do my best to ensure that nothing gets interrupted here, but if it is, I wanted you to know why. I’m also likely going to be working more in order to afford some kind of car, so my time to write and read is limited. I just ask for your patience and good thoughts/prayers for me. It’s a very hectic time in my family’s life as well as mine, and this could not have come at a worse time.)

THAT ALL BEING SAID.

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I think character development is one of the most critical pieces of writing. One of my strongest pieces of critiques or any work comes when I feel I can’t connect with or relate to the characters. I find sometimes, however, that I have difficulty pointing out the exact point where I realize that this has happened or failed to. My first clue has been lately, though. I take you all back to some of my favorites: the running app Zombies, Run!.

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April 25, 2016

What’s In A Name?

Names have always been important in my writing. I say time and time again that characters come to me first, and that usually starts with a name. (This does lead to many of my characters having similar names, which is…something I’m working on.) Add into this my time dabbling in Lyn Thorne-Alder’s world of Addergoole, where names (and Names) have extremely large meanings, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time on BehindtheName.com. I love delving into meanings, and making the meanings tie back to the characters to which they are attached.

But some of my favorites were off the cuff decisions. And the name of your character is infinitely important.

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April 11, 2016

Tell Me What You Remember

I’ve not made a secret out of the fact that character development is something to which I’ve devoted way too much of my life. I was obsessed with character surveys. I’ve done star charts for characters–and then altered things depending on how accurate it was. I did my entire undergraduate thesis on the concept. And yet still, sometimes I have trouble carrying all of that onto the page where readers can see it. I can see the character so clearly in my mind; why isn’t that showing through?

But on the few occasions when I’ve really gotten it, I’ve been asked how I managed to do it. This is one of the few places where I’ll ever say “write what you know” and I’m totally serious.

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February 29, 2016

Alternate Storytelling: Video Games

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw me retweet this excellent blog post from Chuck Wendig looking at the game Firewatch and how it tells a story, and what we can learn from its methods. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on Firewatch, and I can see the truth in both sides. This got me thinking, though. I’ve talked about non-traditional storytelling before, and also that I love the methods of storytelling I’ve seen in video games. So how could I pass up the opportunity to talk about one of the video games I’ve played lately that I think has changed the way games tell stories completely?

Let’s talk UNDERTALE. (There may be spoilers below, but I’ll point them out before I say anything, in case you haven’t played the game yet. …And you should. Go play. Right now.)

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July 22, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

Jeff Fenner’s life is on the brink of collapse. He owes the wrong people too much money, anything he might call his own he’s losing his grip on, and his estranged sister has just committed suicide. The police are on his trail and it won’t lead anywhere Jeff is ready to go. There’s no light at the end of this tunnel unless he makes it himself, and he knows it. As Jeff tries to find his way back to the surface, he crosses paths with another troubled person: Holly Barnes. Holly has been struggling with her demons and trying to find solace in a West Coast, New Age self-help group called Saving Our Lives. (The acronym to SOL is particularly ironic.)  Via Holly, Jeff becomes aware that his sister’s “suicide” is one of a string over the past two years–and Holly is in line to be the next victim.

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April 22, 2014

Not Quite a Book Review: Heavy Rain

Filed under: Reviews — R @ 5:13 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m deviating from my norm, and touching into a world that I think is very much overlooked when it comes to story and whatnot: the video game industry. It’s easy to look at the wide spectrum and say “oh, well I know why we don’t look at it–I mean, look at them. It’s all Mario Kart and Madden NFL crap. Who’s looking for story in this?”

Me. That’s the answer. Me, and people like me. We are the ones who pick up video games and wonder if the characters will be engaging, if the story will be believable, if the world will be big enough to feel natural and explorable.

I’ve picked up a game recently, and it’s very short (I’m already about halfway through the plot line), but I think it’s the perfect one to point out for this post: Heavy Rain. (Though if I’m being accurate, I should probably put Rain in italics…heh) (Note: minor spoilers potentially below the cut.)

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