wildfillysama: Useful writing motivationals

I have a mixed relationship with motivational sayings. It alternates between abject distaste, vague tolerance, and actually finding them useful. Consequently, I’ve come across quite a few writing-related slogans that I’ve kept because they’ve actually struck me as kind of handy, rather than regrettably cheesy. Here are some of the highlights:

0cc90218fc4f3115dee6025ec8771860I have a yes/no relationship with this one. If you’re writing something that you want to publish, then it does make sense to have a recipient in mind. However, it can also be very distracting to write with only one person at the forefront of your brain. Personally, I prefer to use this strategy when editing, not writing from scratch.

84d186e234b0af65505e082cee22aeee100% agree. Even if it comes out like mangled laundry, at least something’s come out and you can call it an exercise, if not a polished product. Sitting stuck for ideas is the least productive thing you can do. Just write around in circles about any aimless thing until something strikes you as useful or interesting, then move on from there. Or go and get another coffee.

fdaf4c0349b3c6374ddbb5760ac622f5I disagree. One of the best tests of your writing is determining whether or not it sounds good out loud, especially if it’s poetry. When you read, does it flow? Does it jar appropriately? Does it sound interesting, or unintentionally repetitive? As you read, you’ll also notice where details are missing or superfluous. Don’t underestimate how important the sound of reading your work is when you’re in the editing or shaping processes.

d974fa50a2ce7777b46bec697020a0aaWhat we idly write or quickly jot down can reveal a lot about how we immediately think or judge things. When editing, it’s important to go back with this in mind and decide whether or not it’s appropriate for what you originally had in mind. After all, if you’re writing over a long period of time, it’s very likely that your thoughts and stances will shift.

4741c7717e0774399d621565660e5db4This is what got me into writing fanfiction. I knew exactly what I wanted to read, but no one had written it yet. I find this statement particularly helpful as well because it reminds me that if I can’t read my own work and enjoy it, then it’s pretty unlikely that anyone else will either. If it’s too dull, then it needs fixed!

4885d8728e8d02ac32252b570d7c1aeeAnother one I have a mixed relationship with, based mostly on its abstraction. I think that creativity in writing can definitely be trained, but not always summoned at will. I do believe that not everyone has the same levels or directions of creativity, but that this isn’t necessarily an issue. I do believe in one of the centre comments here though: don’t demand perfection for creativity. Give it time and be prepared to accept the weird things that your brain offers up.

 

 

wildfillysama: Procrastination

I’m meant to be editing a paper for an academic journal. For no good reason, I’ve been putting off starting the edits (even though they’re actually pretty easy ones). So far my list of procrastination tactics have included:

1. Building large imaginary shopping carts of stuff I’ll buy online once the US dollar drops again.

2. Redecorating my wardrobe, complete with Ikea trip.

3. Cleaning most of the house in a fit of unprecedented attention to vacuuming.

4. Cleaning the car. (Seriously, it’s that bad)

5. Levelling up a thief character in Skyrim. Looting people’s houses and then parading out while wearing all their stuff that you’ve just nicked is so satisfying.

6. Writing Pokémon fanfiction.

7. Writing and rewriting this blog post.

8. Consuming more Nespresso coffee than is probably safe.

I’m officially a bad person. My sincerest apologies, poor little neglected translation theory paper. I’ll get to you soon!

wildfillysama: Horses of Middle Earth

To celebrate watching “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” for the second time, I thought I’d do a small post on some of the featured horses in The Hobbit. They’re some interesting characters…

 

First up is Gandalf’s horse in The Hobbit:

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Draysill, also known as “Big Nick”, is an 18hh Clydesdale gelding whose claims to fame include being excessively hairy and carting around a series of stuntriders (and also doing a few stationary green-screen close-ups with Sir Ian McKellan sitting on his back). At only 10 years old, he shows the placid and patient nature that the breed is famed for, as well as great willingness to charge over large grassy plains.

Sadly he is no longer available for sale, otherwise I’d be seriously considering my options. His advert got over 21,000 hits when it was put up. Somewhere out there is the world’s most accurate Gandalf cosplayer right now.

 

Secondly, Bilbo’s “pony” in The Hobbit, also demonstrating the “I’m not sure I want to do this as a hobby” face:

8pony-copyBilbo’s pony, along with the dwarves’ ponies in this scene, is not actually a pony. All of the ponies here are in fact horses wearing fluffy jackets. I kid you not. If you look closely, you can see where Bilbo’s pony’s suit stops at the neck/jowl area. The dwarven pony behind Bilbo’s mount also has more of a Quarter Horse look to his face as well. There was no way to make full-sized actors look like they were dwarves without giving the horses a bit of a makeover, so director Peter Jackson had fluffy body suits made for each horse so that from a distance (and more or less in close-up shots as well) the horses would look more pony-like.

 

 

lorekai: Free games.

Last week I reviewed Analogue: A Hate Story, and after doing so I had a bit of a search around to see what else it’s creator had made, aside from it and it’s sequel, and I was pleasantly surprised to find two more games, both of which are available for free.

Digital: A Love Story – While technically a visual novel, this game feels more to me like a puzzle, as a lot of play time is spent trying to work out how to progress the plot. The story is interesting, and while gameplay does feel a little bit clunky at times, it seems appropriate for the setting. If you have an hour to spare, or are just looking to try something a bit different, I would definitely recommend it.

don’t take it personally, babe, this just ain’t your story – Of the three games of the creator’s I’ve played, this one definitely seems to be the weakest, though that is not to say that it is bad in any way.  The story is good, enjoyable to read, and it explores some interesting issues, however the way that it does so makes the game feel formulaic, and interrupts the flow of the story, which is a bit of a shame. While I have some other minor complaints about, overall it’s a good game and definitely worth checking out.

That’s all this week, thanks for reading, next week is Christmas so I don’t know if I’ll be writing much then.

marsy: Pokemon Alpha Sapphire

Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby have been out for almost two weeks now, so it’s been enough time for me to play through quite a bit. Here are my thoughts.

Contests make me angry. My pokemon are the best and I will tolerate no disagreements. Had to sit my 3DS down for a while after yelling at another pokemon for using a beautiful move and getting that fifth star for the special move that was MINE!! I’m calm. So calm. Right. Anyway, contests mean berries. I’ve never really cared much about berries in previous games, but in this one I’m super into them. Got to harvest all the berries and make some pokeblocks. Soon all my pokemon will be perfect. I am maybe a bit too into the contests, but oh well.

As for the rest of the game, I always did enjoy the Hoenn region. Needs more water stones though. Really liking the pokemon search function thing (forgotten what it’s called. Something nav maybe?). Also love the fact that you can fly to places other than the towns – makes my obsessive berry gathering easier.

I must also confess that I am amazing at nicknaming pokemon. My team members have some truly majestic names. So beautiful.

lorekai: Nostalgia incoming.

In less than twelve hours from now Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will be releasing here, and as the third generation games are my favourite, I’m a little bit excited, so this week I’ll be talking about my Pokemon game experiences.

 

Generation One:

Versions played: Blue and Yellow.

What I remember most about these games, aside from my super awesome Venusaur, in Blue, that killed everything, are the many stupid things my childhood self did, including going through Rock Tunnel without flash, because I didn’t know it existed and I just thought Japanese games were really hard, and using my masterball on a Raticate to see if it worked, and then releasing that Raticate in hopes that I would get it back. I also have the way through Silph Co forever burned into my memory due to the amount of time I spent wandering around lost in there.

 

Generation Two:

Versions played: Gold and Crystal.

Also remembered largely for stupid decisions, slightly fewer than the previous games at least, although I did kill a shiny Rhyhorn because I thought it was a glitch, despite already having the red Gyarodos. Also as the original copy of Crystal I played through was a less than legitimate translation of the Japanese version, I remember great deal of confusion about the giant Pokemon Centre in Goldenrod City, that to this day I am still not entirely sure of the purpose of.

 

Generation Three:

Versions played: Sapphire, Emerald, and Leaf Green.

Between Sapphire, Emerald, and the Golden Sun series, these were the first games that I ever considered from an aesthetic standpoint, that ever made me think that in game locations could be beautiful, it was probably a lot in part due to early teenage pretension, but it helped set the standard for how I look at games today. Furthermore I did a lot fewer stupid things in these games, it was the first time I actually raised a proper team, and gave vague thought to strategy, rather than over leveling my starter and just plowing through.

 

Generation Four:

Versions played: Pearl, Platinum and Heart Gold.

Aside from the gen two remakes, which I adored, generation four I feel is the most forgettable, and is overall my least favourite. It’s not bad by any means, but the only thing of note that I can really think about it is the Physical/Special split, I can’t even call any of the soundtrack to mind, whereas with all the other games I can. The Sinnoh games are also the only games where I don’t like any of the starters, which is one of my biggest problems with it. To be honest I think I went into them knowing too much, playing them the first time round I was over-hyped and they couldn’t live up to my expectations.

The gen two remakes on the other hand  are awesome, aside from being well made remakes, that were both faithful and managed fixed most of the problems of the original release, the Pokemon follow you! And it’s cute, and they give you things, and I love it!

 

Generation Five:

Versions played: Black and Black 2.

My opinions of Black and Black 2 couldn’t be more different from each other, if it weren’t for Black 2, generation five would be my least favourite by far. Black is the only game in the series that I have not been bothered to beat the Elite Four in, I liked the new pokemon, I liked the changes it made to improve the story and add characterisation, but the game itself felt both formulaic and linear, and it lacked the charm of all the previous games. Black 2 on the other hand is close to being one of my favourite pokemon games, it approached the series from a different angle, but still managed to catch the feel and overall charm of the previous generations.

 

Generation Six:

Version played: X.

I reviewed X as one of my early posts in this blog, so if you want to read my full thoughts on it you can find them here, if not then in short I very much enjoyed it, but I feel it lacks in post-game content.

 

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading, next week I’ll hopefully be reviewing whichever of my recent games claims the most of my time, though I’ll also be on a plane.

lorekai: Tales of Hearts R First Impressions.

Another first impressions post this week, this time it’s of Tales of Hearts R, the recently released Vita remake of the original DS’s Tales of Hearts. Please be aware there will be some spoilers for the first hour of the game.

Story:

Ancient Prophecy thing, check.

Girl with mysterious power, check, being chased by a mysterious bad, check.

Naive main character who has never been out of his home town, check.

Tragic death of main character’s elder mentor/family member, check, said person has a mysterious connect to mysterious bad, check.

Collection quest that will force party to travel around the world, check.

Someone obviously wasn’t trying very hard when coming up with the beginning for this game, as it’s more than a little cliché, and while I have full faith that it will find a way to subvert the expected, as most Tales of games do, it was a little disappointing to have such a predictable beginning to a game I’ve been looking forward to for a little while now.

Gameplay:

Random Encounters! How very unexpected! I don’t have a problem with them, I just did not expect them at all, especially in a recent Tales of game, aside from that I don’t really have much to say about the gameplay so far, combat seems like the standard variation on a similar theme, which is good, it’s fun and it works, and the abilities system seems both promising, and lacking in convolution, which is nice.

Graphics:

I’ll admit graphically this game was a very pleasant surprise, I did not expect the remake of a DS game to be so pretty. The environments are pretty, it runs smoothly, and it makes good use of colours so the characters stand out, even if the character designs themselves don’t seem that impressive. The only thing that bothers me so far, is that while some of the animated cutscenes fit the Vita screen, some of them are square, and the is a discrepancy in quality between them. My suspicion is that this is due to it being a remake, and those in charge of the remake not bothering to do anything about the cutscenes they used from the DS version.

Sound:

Soundtrack doesn’t seem particularly standout so far, there is nothing to complain about, but there is nothing of note either. Oddly enough, sound-wise,  we get the Japanese voices, but not the opening song, which is probably due to this being a low budget release, which is a little bit disappointing, especially as there seem to be some minor timing issues between the text boxes and the characters speaking, and also because I tend to like the proper opening songs.

That’s all, thank for reading. My time this week will be devoted to exam revision and going “Ahhh!”, and then after that it’s Pokémon, so don’t when I’ll be able to review this properly, hopefully soon though.