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: Twelve Days of (Writing) Christmas

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On the first day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… one knackered spine!

On the second day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… two published papers!

On the third day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… three poetry collections!

On the fourth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… four poetry readings!

On the fifth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… five book reviews due!

On the sixth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… six thesis chapters!

On the seventh day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… seven scumbag characters!

On the eighth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… eight freaking rewrites!

On the ninth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… nine weird plot twists!

On the tenth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… ten calloused fingers!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… eleven alternative career paths!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… twelve months of frenzied typing!

 

Happy holidays everyone! ūüėÄ

wildfillysama: Nanowrimo – The Final Result

1526848_10152856419114323_8720131510297968200_nVictory is mine! Final word count: 50,028

I think I need a new keyboard.

 

It wasn’t pretty by any sense of the word. The last three days of Nanowrimo were absolutely appalling, and the fiction that spawned from them equally questionable. I was more than 9000 words behind schedule last Friday and needed to make up the headway almost all in one sitting. There was blood, sweet, way too much coffee, a cricked neck, and some questionable casting choices involved. I have no idea why characters have done they things they did. I’ve written a massive plot hole that threatens to destroy the entire world.

But hey… progress, right?

Now for the tricky part: sifting the trash from the treasure, rearranging floating bits of story, and taking out all the bits that just don’t work. I’m cautiously optimistic. Next week I hope to have most of it patchworked into a workable story, because I’m unreasonable like that.

 

I hope that everyone has enjoyed (ha!) their Nanowrimo experience, and that their novels are shiny and resplendent.

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: Shin Megami Tensei IV First Impressions

It only took them more than a year, but Shin Megami Tensei IV has finally made it to Australia! Yay! What a reasonable amount of time to wait, when it made it to the US less than two months after it’s Japanese release, that small bitterness aside, I’m glad to finally play it, and it’s a pretty excellent game so far.

Good:

The first thing I noticed about this game was the quality of the soundtrack, it’s very atmospheric, and well put together. The voice cast is also of high quality, and none of character voices, that I’ve encountered so far, seem ill-suited.

The story seems very promising so far, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on choice, which leads me to believe that there may be multiple endings, if not story routes, which is always a good thing, especially for replayability. Furthermore it looks like it setting up to explore some interesting issues, though they do seem a little standard for the genre, I have high hopes that it will handle them well and that there will be more to it, there almost always is in a SMT game.

Bad:

So far, graphically, this game seems all over the place, for the most part it’s it’s an aesthetically pleasing game, with pretty in town backgrounds, character portraits and models, however the character sprites, when you are choosing which characters to talk to, are downright awful. They clash horribly with the aesthetic of the game, it looks almost like they ripped them from a much older game, they look that dated and out of place. It’s a minor irritance, but it’s served to make me much more aware of other aspects of the graphics which bother me.

Indifferent:

Gameplay so far seems pretty much like standard SMT-fare, you explore a dungeon, there are turn-based battles, and you recruit demons to fight for you. It’s fun, it’s addictive, and anyone familiar with the series knows that it works well, but thus far this game is missing one of the key elements that I enjoy most, and that is, the difficulty. I should not be able to stumble into a boss, even an early game boss, with my main character on 2hp and win without healing, that is not why I play Shin Megami Tensei games. I’m still early in the game though, so hoping that the difficulty will increase as I proceed.

 

That’s all, I’m off to play some more now, thanks for reading.

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