lorekai: And so my faith in humanity has been whittled away a little more…

I’m assuming by now that many of you have seen, or at least heard about, the video of the woman walking around New York City, if not you can view it here.

But it’s not the unsolicited commentary, or the downright creepy behavior of some of the men in the video, or even how it demonstrates a fairly serious societal issue, that whittles away my faith. No, it’s the number of people who seem to think that that sort of behavior is completely alright, that a woman should expect to be harassed if she dresses up nicely and goes out in public. And if she doesn’t like it, she should move, she shouldn’t dress so provocatively, she should loosen up and learn to take a compliment. What helpful suggestions, except, it happens everywhere, regardless of what you are wearing, the sincerity of a compliment is obvious, and it most certainly is not a compliment if you are left fearing that the wrong response could be met with anger, or even violence.

It’s ridiculous, and I cannot comprehend how some people can think this way, that they cannot even try to think of what things are like from another person’s perspective. Surely it cannot be hard to understand that being hassled nearly every time you walk along a street is unpleasant, that being followed around by a complete stranger is at best uncomfortable, at worst terrifying. How can they be so closed off, that they think it’s it’s perfectly alright for anyone to face this on a regular basis. I thought people were better than this.

Sorry for the rant, thanks for reading.

wildfillysama: Further writing tips

Nanowrimo starts this Saturday. Does everyone have their combination of excitement and dread happening? Good!

To match up with last week’s post, here are some more bits of advice for how to get the most out of your Nanowrimo experience, and hopefully to also churn out something that passes for a novel.

1. Treat it like a job. That means setting yourself a particular time, with itemised tasks, and working until you meet a certain deadline or completion point. Don’t forget breaks, but don’t take too many of them, or you’ll ruin the effect.

2. Don’t aim for perfection first time. Write out the bare, ugly bones of what you want, and quickly move on. Make a massive list of dot-points, if it comes to it. As you write more dot-points, the words will start to flow. Go back to each dot-point and add a sentence of clarification. Then another. Then another…

3. Minimise distractions. Some people love to write in front of an open window, or with music playing, or all kinds of things like that. Personally, I’m not one of them. I like to have a cone of solitude, and if music is on, it’s on the lowest possible setting. Gauge what position your writing is at before giving yourself distractions. If you’re completely into the swing of typing, then music is fine, but if not, keep it quiet.

4. Play with your writing style. Getting bogged down? Take a break while still writing by shifting ahead or back in the story, and writing in a different way. For example, add more dialogue, insert a descriptive scene, add a funny encounter, or introduce a new character. Or, if you’re really stuck, go back and embellish what you already have (DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING JUST YET): add small, emphatic sentences to longer ones.

5. Write about something you know and are passionate about. Researching new professions/skills to match up with a character is admirable, but also takes time and can be a bit daunting when you’re starting out. In the meantime, write about things you personally know a lot about and can easily add to the flow of your story. Passion for a subject comes through very strongly in your writing, and can add a lot to the reader’s experience.

 

Also, keep reading. Writing can’t happen in a vacuum.

Join up for Nanowrimo here, good luck! : http://nanowrimo.org

 

Two Alpha Nerds Review

So, in lieu of a Friday Free-For-All post, lorekai and EbolaBooze team up to fight crime and review anime. Mainly review anime.

First up:

Ore Twintail ni Narimasu

EbolaBooze: lol wut? I didn’t know what to expect going into this, and after three episodes I still don’t know what the hell is going on. It’s a crazy ride, and it is now picked the fuck up. Wow.

lorekai: Seconding everything that EbolaBooze said, this anime is just wow, gets by by sheer ridiculousity. Basically magical boy/girl transformation, fighting lizard monster things, to stop them from stealing the love of twintails. I have no idea how they managed to come up with, but I’ll definitely be continuing watching.

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Grisaia no Kajitsu

EbolaBooze: Having played two out of the five(?) routes of the visual novel, I was wondering how good an adaptation it would be – adaptations tend to be not of the best quality. Seems promising though, they got the personalities of the various characters down pat (nutcases, one and all) and cut the fat without cutting anything essential to the plot. So far, so good!

lorekai: Didn’t know anything about it going in, but it seems pretty interesting so far. Nice animation, and pretty character designs, even if they are all nutjobs. Also like that they were far more equal opportunity in terms of fanservice then most anime of the genre, male butt shown in anime, I can’t think of many others that go there. Pretty good so far, I’m interesting in seeing what happens next.

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Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete

Or: Science Cube with the Powers of Future (lorekai et al)

EbolaBooze: This one didn’t seem to have any obvious hooks from the get-go, seemed like a slice of life high-school anime and my expectations dropped sharply. The main character is my spirit animal though – astronomy for the win! The last five minutes or so of the first episode turned everything around, there was a hook, and it was a magical time-travelling naked-girl summoning science cube. Eh, I’d take it.

lorekai: Interesting premise, though quite a slow first episode, it was fairly obvious from the beginning that something bad was going to happen, but it was not quite what I expected. Mysterious science cube is mysterious, Vaguely intrigued but I’m not sure if I’ll continue, also the main character is most certainly EbolaBooze.

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lorekai: Fantasy Life Review

This week, thanks to life finally not being in the way of gaming, and wordpress finally cooperating, I’ll be reviewing Fantasy Life, a 2012 RPG from Level-5, that only very recently made it’s way out of Japan.

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Story:

While suffering a little from predictability, overall Fantasy Life’s story is fun, lighthearted, and enjoyable, I would also however say that it is one of the weakest parts of the game. It is in no way a bad story, the characters are fun, and there is a good sense of self awareness, as it sidesteps the major story tropes of the genre, however due to this, and the game’s lighthearted nature, there is never any sense of urgency, even when plot events suggest that there really should be. Furthermore the story itself seems somewhat overly blatant in the themes it explores, which I would attribute some of the source of the predictability to, and while I would have no problem with this, it becomes a little tiresome when most of the major plot events feel like the same conflict being reiterated over and over again.

Gameplay:

Everywhere I look on the internet I see people trying to compare this game to Animal Crossing, and I can understand why people, without having played the game, would think that way, personally however, gameplay-wise I would sooner compare this game to Rune Factory, Dragon Quest IX, or even Skyrim, before Animal Crossing. As while this game does have a fairly similar customisation aspect, it makes up such a small part of the game, there is really no basis for the comparison to be made.

Gameplay-wise this game has a lot to offer, especially if you are a completionist, you have a fairly substantial world to explore, a large number of quests to complete, the wonderful distraction that is customisation, of both your home(s) and your character, secrets to uncover, and twelve different jobs to master. These jobs can be divided in to three different categories, combat, gathering, and crafting, each with their own different skills and gameplay elements, and while you can switch jobs whenever you like, I would definitely recommend starting with a combat or gathering based job, instead of a crafting one, unless of course you have lots of people available for multiplayer, as getting the necessary items, for crafting, will be quite irritating and costly initially, making it difficult to improve your rank.

The combat in this game is pretty simple, press “A” to attack which whatever weapon you have equipped, and run around to dodge enemy attacks, with different weapons and jobs adding other options, such as equipping a shield, or using a special attack. It’s nothing unusual, and it works well, particularly in multiplayer, furthermore each action has a skill level, and the more you do something the better your character becomes at it. Overall combat is fun and intuitive, though perhaps a little easy.

Sound:

It’s a Nobuo Uematsu soundtrack, need I say more? If I do then, it’s a fantastic soundtrack, with a good range of tunes, appropriate for the setting and themes in game, and contributing well to building the lighthearted atmosphere of the game. Perhaps not one of his strongest soundtracks, though that could be due to my continued playing of Theatrhythm creating an unfair comparison, but still one that is far above the average, but again it’s Nobou Uematsu, need I say more?

Graphics:

Graphically this game shines, true there are games out there that are prettier, but this often seems to come at some form of cost, like the severely limited towns in Bravely Default, whereas Fantasy Life has consistent quality across all areas, and uses colours well to create a detailed, vibrant, and sometimes quite beautiful world to explore. Furthermore the character designs are downright cute, and there is a huge range of character customisation available, I’ve streetpassed more than fifteen people with this game and I’ve yet to come across any characters that look the same.

Overall:

Fantasy Life is an excellent game and one I would recommend that almost anyone should give it a try, regardless of their interest or experience with jrpgs, it has a lot to offer in terms of gameplay, as well as a fun story, all of which is extremely well presented both visually and aurally. Also you can have pets and take them on quests with you, and who wouldn’t want to go adventuring with their cats?

Thanks for reading!

wildfillysama: Nanowrimo next week

It’s that time of year again! Yet another round of trying to write a novel, or at least a novel-sized load of “words”, for lack of a more flattering description, in one month.

My first Nanowrimo attempt took place in 2006. I failed miserably.

My second and third Nanowrimo attempts took place in 2012 and 2013. Both were victorious. I’m hoping to repeat the experience again, but to actually have publishable results. Thankfully, the last few years have generated several handy techniques for getting the word count and the contents up to standard (mostly). Here are a few things I’ve found handy:

1. Have a plan. Plain and simple. Know what you want to write about, for how many words, and in what order. Set yourself a number of words to write per day, and also set yourself some days off, to prevent brain haemorrhaging.

2. Have a word challenge for each writing day. Don’t expect plot points to show up on time for work each day. While you’re making your plan, also make an event/word cloud for each week. Write yourself some prompts. For example: unusual words to include in descriptions; characters to argue about something in a long dialogue spiel; a monologue about the harshness of poptarts; a sudden diary entry from one of the characters…

3. Stay off the Nanowrimo facebook groups. Everyone on there is there for one reason: procrastination. Don’t join them.

4. Don’t ask for feedback. You’ll end up waiting until after Nanowrimo is over for good feedback to return to you, in which case you’ll have run out of time. Crush all insecurities. Forge on ahead and blindly write. Yes, it will probably be crap, but there will be one or two things in there that you can keep. It’s more important at this stage to get the momentum up than it is to get the technique refined. Refinement can come afterwards. Learn how to self-motivate and keep a story going first.

5. Think about the next step. Do you want to publish with a commercial publisher? Do you want to self-publish? Do you want to email the story around a group of friends? Bury it in a hole and never look upon it again? Have a goal in mind, the whole time you’re working on the story. It needs a future. You’re giving life to a story (for better or worse), so you should treat it with respect. Give it the time and space that it deserves, and later, when you’ve got time to reflect, give it the kick up the backside it may need to get where you want it to go.

 

Next week, I’m going to start writing, and I hope you are too. Will be returning here on 3rd November to rant about it…. good luck! If you want to be friends on Nanowrimo, my profile is here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/wildfillysama