Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quick Update

Not dead. Still breathing. Just no inspiration to write here.

However, I did start a new blog.

It has no specific purpose, just an outlet for me to write stories on characters I create from games. Mostly, Roleplaying stuff from MMOs, but others may be sprinkled in as well. Feel free to follow along if interested, but don't expect much of it to make sense at first!

Later gators.

Visage of Many

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I am firm believer that no matter how talented of a writer you are and no matter how wonderfully crafted your plot is, your work won't survive without good characters. Characters are what drive most any story forward. They are the vehicle in which your audience drives through the story with. There is nothing more disappointing than loving the plot of something, only to realize your cast is bland and insipid. Or even worse, you have written a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu). Whats that? As defined by Wikipedia:
"A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfilment fantasy for the author or reader."
That doesn't mean your characters have to be likeable, however. In the end, it should all boil down to relatability. I am not suggesting that your characters have to match up with the likes and dislikes of the reader, but give them flaws, bad habits. Make them human. We relate to that which we understand, what we can sympathize with. A perfect example: I was playing a game where the main heroine was a huge Mary Sue. I hated her, and she was borderline ruining the game for me. Then, a scene was shown where the character got jealous. So jealous that she got angry. It completely caught me off guard, and suddenly my hate melted away. I actually felt bad for her. She had shown a human quality that  I related too. Sad to say, it was the only moment in the game where she exhibited such behavior, and she quickly transformed back into her one dimensional state. But for that brief moment, she was a character who I still didn't like, but wanted to know more about.

Flaws seem to be the easiest way of making a character three dimensional. Have them bite their nails, give them a horrible temper, make them horribly antisocial. Small quirks make somebody interesting, and not just story fodder. I recall, when I first starting writing my novel, I wanted to create a character for exactly that. Plot fodder. However, as I wrote him, his mannerisms and quirks surprised me. When the time came to it, I realized he had suddenly become an integral part of the cast. I couldn't get rid of him.

Characters can make or break your story (most of the time). So, unless you have a very specific idea in mind, I highly suggest taking the time to plan them out. To at least give them a foundation of a personality. Then, you can let the rest write itself.

Friday, May 18, 2012

When a Hobby Becomes a Chore

A long hiatus from novel (and blog) writing has been taken, and while I am not at all surprised (I know myself well). I am bit curious as to how exactly I expect to someday form a career out of it when I can't even keep myself in momentum for more than a few weeks. Morbid, yes, but honest.

I haven't stopped writing completely as I've taken some Roleplaying with the new game TERA. I originally was going to bring back Taeniel (the same character from my earlier entries), and wrote a few things for her, but in the end, I got bored.

I know people say, 'Just write, even if you have nothing to say.' But that bothers the hell out of me. If I write when I don't 'feel it,' then whatever I put down on the paper is shit. At least from my perspective. Maybe I am too harsh a critic, but writing because I feel I have too never seems to bring out the best in my abilities. The worst part of it all is that I am unsure what causes my boredom. I know where my current novel is heading. Each plot point and area is already set up, but every time I start, I keep seeing flaws, and the desire instantly leaves me.

Maybe the key is just to barrel through, as others suggest. In the end, you can always go back to edit and spice up what you put down. I suppose that's wherein my main problem lays... I want everything to be perfect the first time is put down. Something clearly unattainable.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Revisting Dragon Age 2

I don't think it's any surprise when I say I am huge Roleplaying game fan. The stories that type of game can offer is usually vast and rich (our keyword is usually here). When the first Dragon Age released, the hype around it was enormous, and rightly so. I played the game on my 360 (my first Bioware game - I was a late bloomer), and instantly fell in love. The characters, the story, the way you shaped the world -- It was everything I wanted in a game. So when Dragon Age 2 was announced, to say I was excited, was an understatement. However, upon playing I found that DA2 failed to excite me like the first one had. I found the lack of environments annoying. The once organic nature of getting to know your companions was now replaced by the Mass Effect formulaic approach (do a major quest --> talk to your friends --> do a major plot quest --> talk to your friends). The main story never seemed to gain the momentum to keep you wanting to play. The whole game just felt rushed and a bit sloppy. I got to the end of it, put it down, and didn't finally beat it til a few months later just so I could get it out of my queue.

 Now,  just a year later, I decided to start the game again. My second experience with the game has been vastly different than the first. In the span of a two months, I've started three new characters and beaten the game with each. I'm actually enjoying the game, moreso than I have any other in a long while. My complaints still stand, but on this second go around, I find myself a lot more forgiving. Despite the process of getting to know my companions, I found them extremely likeable (not that this is any surprise, it is a Bioware game). I feel as if I can see what Bioware was trying to achieve with it's multiple story plots (broken down into Acts in the game). While in DA1, we were focused on one group's mission -the Warden's getting rid of the blight- in DA2 we follow one person and see how the shape the world they live in. Maybe I'm tardy to the party on realizing all that, but DA2 was a jarring change from the intensely focused premise of DA1. After all this time, I feel I can truly appreciate what DA2 was trying to create.

A lot of people knocked the combat in DA2, but I L O V E it. I love the face paced nature, I love the multiple trees (force mage all the way), I love being able to make my rogue into a tank. Yes, it was extremely frustrating having to revisit the same three areas over and over, but I find myself forgiving that since playing as a different class each time offers a new experience.

Am I say that DA2 is the best game ever? Not at all. It certainly has it flaws, but it seems Bioware is eager to address them with it's next installment. I'm just pointing out that maybe it's audience (myself included) were a bit too harsh on the game at first glance. What I would mainly like to see brought back in DA3 is the natural approach to getting to know your companions. Have them stop me in the middle of a dungeon to chat, have them react to an NPC hitting on my character, keep the banter between them. Characters make a game. Even if they boast the most indepth personality around, if the execution figuring it out is wrong, then the character falls flat. Example? In DA1, out nowhere, a character stops your player to give them an item along with dialogue. It seems like such a small thing, but it really helps bring them to life for you.

Regardless of what the general consensus is on the game, I am happy that I was finally able to change my opinion on the game. I hope to see nothing but good things coming from the DA team in the future.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I wasn't Kidding...

When I said my blogging history is full of spectacular failures...I mean, this one obviously got very close to death's door. Or hell, maybe it died and I just created a zombie blog (AWESOME).

Anyway, after I hit that milestone I last spoke of, my steam completely ran out for writing. I think I was so eager to get the particular scene I was writing out, that once it happened, I was burned out. A very disheartening thought.

Regardless, I'm back on the horse again and we will see how it goes.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I took a break from writing this weekend. I hit a pretty big milestone on Friday (I like to say part one of my novel is finished), and before starting part two, I wanted to collect myself. Or maybe I'm just lazy...Either way right?

I find inspiration to write my novel from a variety of sources. Something I see on a movie, a game I'm playing, a book. I find though, some of my greatest come from listening to music. It's no secret I am a huge nerd. I adore listening to video game soundtracks. There are many cases where I hate the game, but love the music (*cough* Final Fantasy). I will find myself scouring the internet for new game soundtracks to listen too. AOL radio actually has a video game soundtrack station which is awesome (minus the pesky commercials). LastFM is great as well, but there a lot of remixes on there. Nothing wrong with them, but not usually what I prefer. I usually find myself on Grooveshark, which offers a plethora of choices, but only if you know what you are looking for.

One such particular song inspired me for Taeniel. Remember her? The RP character I created for Aion. I actually had a whole playlist created for her (and my novel, and any other characters I made). Anyway, here is the song for Taeniel: The Fate -- Shadow Hearts Soundtrack
She had many more, but that is the one stood out.

Lets continue with Taeniel's story, shall we? If only because I said so!

Taeniel stood at the edge of Cliona Lake. Besides her feet laid a fishing pole. Behind her she heard a Pink Beak squawk loudly, as if reminding her why she was there. She sighed and shifted her weight, scanning the road ahead. Where the hell was Kaiden? He was supposed to meet her an hour ago.

8 years had passed since that first day they met. For 8 years they had remained the best of friends. During that time, Taeniel had come to realize some things about Kaiden. He was impulsive and almost obsessed with becoming a mercenary like his dad. He always knew how to make her laugh and ate like a porgus. Out of all the things that made Kaiden, Kaiden, the one thing she couldn’t stand was that he was almost always late. It annoyed her to no end, and he knew that. But it never stopped happening.

Today though, today was the latest he’d ever been. Usually he would be five, ten minutes late tops. This made her wonder if something had happened. Had his father come home? Mr. Bancroft worked for a mercenary group in the outskirts of Poeta. He was rarely home, two or three times a year, tops. Taeniel had never met the man directly, but Kaiden talked about him constantly. Whenever he was home, Kaiden would disappear for that time, learning and spending all the time he could with the man. Not that Taeniel could blame him. She couldn’t imagine if her father were never home.

Taeniel exhaled sharply and shifted again. Maybe she should just start fishing without him. It was a beautiful day and she hated to waste anymore time. Suddenly, something caught her eye. Two people appeared at the top of the road. One of them was Kaiden and the other… Her face darkened. The other was a petite girl, laughing and holding onto Kaiden’s arm. As they got closer, Taeniel recognized her as Miriam something or other. She was new town, her family was from Sanctum. Apparently, her father was a city templar or something like that. He had military connections and Taeniel knew instantly that’s why Kaiden was hanging around with her.

Despite that though, she felt herself grow jealous. Kaiden knew Taeniel was not a fan of Miriams. The girl was a ditz. Always talking about herself, laughing at nothing. She dressed ridiculously, nothing like the people in Akarios did. Taeniel sized her up as she walked near. Much smaller, a thin frame. She had thick purple hair that she wore down, long and loose. She had pert features and wide blue eyes. She dressed in a short leather skirt and matching top, not something someone should attempt fishing in. As ridiculous as Miriam looked, Taeniel became self conscious. Her own thick black hair was pulled haphazardly back into a ponytail, she had on a stained button down shirt of her fathers, her pants had a hole in one knee that was luckily covered by her boot. The more and more she thought about the situation, the angrier she became. Just what the hell was Kaiden doing bringing this girl here? He knew that when they fished it was their time. They’d always gone fishing alone, for as long as they knew each other.

“Sorry we’re late.” He ran a hand through his blonde curls. “Had to buy Mimms here a rod.”

Taeniel arched a brow. “Mimms?”

Nicknames now? She internally rolled her eyes. They had known each other less than a month!

Kaiden must have caught onto her tone, because he shot her a quick dirty look. “You know Mimms, Taeniel. I invited her along.”

Miriam smiled sweetly. “Hi Taeniel! When I told Kia I’d never been fishing, he said I should come along and try it.”

But Taeniel ignored her, continuing to stare at Kaiden. “I know Miriam yes, but I don’t know a Mimms. I also don’t know a Kia.”

“Oh!” Miriam giggled and put her hand on Kaiden’s arm. “Those are just our nicknames we made up for each other. I don’t really like Mimms, but I think Kia sounds fun for him, don’t you?”

Taeniel folded her arms across her chest. “I don’t really like either of them.”

Before Miriam could respond. Kaiden stepped forward. “Well, I love them. Comeon, Mimms, I’ll show you how to string up your pole.”

She looked at him uncertainly, but nodded. As they walked past Taeniel to the shore, Kaiden shoved into her. “What the hell? Why did you bring an attitude today?”

She lowered her voice. “Why did you bring the idiot? You know I don’t like her, Kia. Since when did you two become best friends?”

Kaiden looked over to make sure Miriam hadn’t heard Taeniel’s remark, then grabbed her arm and pulled her close. “Listen, I know you loathe any other females, because they are too girly, or whatever. But her dad is someone really important, and it would be nice to get on his good side.”

“I don’t loathe other females.” Taeniel hissed. “I just don’t like the ones without a brain.”

As if on cue, Miriam cried out. “Oh no! My shoe got muddy! This place is filthy!”

Taeniel snorted. “My point exactly.”

“Hey.” Kaiden gave her a little shake. “Just pretend like you are my caring friend and don’t bite any heads off ok?”

Not waiting for a reply, he jogged over to Miriam, helping her pull her shoe from the mud. “You ok Mimms?”

Rolling her eyes, Taeniel walked a good distance away from them, setting up shop near a small rock. She cast her line into the water. If Kaiden or Miriam cared that she walked so far away, neither of them mentioned it. Convincing herself, she didn’t care, Taeniel tried to focus on the water, on relaxing like she always did when coming out here. Somehow she managed to do it, tuning out Miriam’s occasional high pitched squeals. Before she knew it, she was calmly watching the water, enjoying the cool breeze on her face, and the gentle wind that was blowing. It was almost perfect.

Suddenly, there was a tap on her shoulder. She glanced over her shoulder to see Kaiden and Miriam standing behind her.


“I am going to walk Miriam home now.”

Taeniel felt the last of her peacefulness slip away. “Walk her home? It’s still early.”

“I have a dinner party to get ready for.” Miriam chimed in, smoothing her clothes. “I obviously can’t go dirty like this.”

“Do you not know your own way home either?” Taeniel asked sarcastically.

“I offered to walk her home.” Kaiden said.

“He might be going to the dinner party with me.” Miriam smiled.

A dark cloud settled over Taeniel’s head, she turned back around. “Yea ok, see you.”

As she heard them walk away, Kaiden not bothering to say more, she felt even more hurt. She had no rights to him like that, she knew it .She wasn’t even interested in him romantically, but he was her best friend, and he obviously had found something better. She sat there for a little while longer, but her heart was no longer into fishing. She just wanted to go home, and go to bed.

Before she could get up though, she heard footsteps. Kaiden sat down beside her, picked up his pole, and cast it off, not saying a word. Taeniel did the same, but knew she had to say something, it was eating her up inside.

“So, couldn’t make it to Mimms party huh? What? Didn’t have anything fancy enough for her liking?”

Kaiden shook his head. “You really hate her that much huh? You know, it if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were jealous.”

“She’s just ridiculous. Everything about her is. Her shoe got muddy, well duh! She’s standing in a lake!” Taeniel snorted. “What could you possibly see in her?”

“I told you what.” He shrugged.

“So to meet her dad, you made up a nickname for her and everything?” Another snort. “Kia…Should I start calling you that now too? Kia and Mimms.”

They fell silent. She stared ahead, embarrassed at herself for how nasty she knew she sounded. She couldn’t help it though. She had never felt so left out before.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a smirk cross Kaiden’s face.

“So that’s what bothering you huh? You want a nickname?”

She glared at him. “Don’t be stupid.”

“Do you want me to make one up for you? Would that put a smile on your pretty little face?” His smirk turned to a full fledged grin.

She focused ahead, refusing to give him the satisfaction of a smile. “Just drop it and fish ok?”

He tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Hmm… Let me see…A nickname for Taeniel…”

“Can’t you just shut your big mouth and leave it alone? I don’t want one of your stupid nicknames!”

“Well with an attitude like that, I say ‘Happy’ is perfect you. Do you like that one?”

She sighed, ignoring him.

“Sugar lips?”


Whack! She smacked him upside the head.

“Hey! Ow!” He protested, laughing. “Don’t ruin my creative process!”

“I said stop.” She was trying hard not to laugh.

There were a few more minutes of silence, then he snapped his fingers. “I got it! Theo. I’ll call you Theo!”

“Theo is a boy’s name.” She replied. But she had to admit, she was secretly pleased. Not only did she like the sound of the name, but he hadn’t given up on her. “It doesn’t even make sense.”

“Sure it does.” He explained. “Your heart is just as black and burned like the Scorchlands out in Theobomos, hence Theo.”

She ignored the insult, knowing him it was more of a compliment. “It’s still a boy’s name.”

He waved his hand dismissively. “Please, like you aren’t one of the guys.”

The more and more she thought about, the more she liked the name. Even if it meant Kaiden thought of her as one of the guys. She could never tell that to him though.

“My name is Taeniel, and that’s that.”

“You mean Theo.” He corrected automatically.

“How would you like another smack?”

He feigned hurt. “I give you a great name and you threaten to hit me? Some friend you are… Theo.”

“Oh, that’s it!”

With one heave, she sent him splashing into the lake. She burst out laughing as he sat in surprise, a tiny bit of mud dripping from his nose.

“Hey, no fair! You said you’d hit me, not push me in!”

Taeniel shrugged. “What can I say, you can’t stop genius when it comes to you.”

As she helped him out of the lake, he winked at her. “You do realize I’m still gonna call you Theo right?”

She laughed. “I figured as much. Now comeon, lets get you home before you start to stink.”

Playfully pushing him forward, she shook her a little, surprised. It was amazing how a day could start out so bad and end so well.

He really did keep on calling me Theo til the very end. It never really caught on with anyone else, but I don't think I wanted it too. I think that was probably the first day I realized just how much I cared about him... Our friendship. I'll never forget the day he died, the last time he called me Theo. The pain and shock in his eyes... I never wanted to be known as Theo again. It was a cruel and harsh reminder of what she... of what I had done.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pace in Writing

Ask anybody who knows me in person and they will tell you have a problem with rushing. I rush everything: Shopping, eating, driving (that's right, get out of my way). I also tend to rush in my writing. Most would take that as I don't enjoy writing; I mean how could I if I'm rushing the story along?

But it's so not that. When I rush in my stories, it's because I see a particular scene in my head. One I am dying to get too. Now, I know I could always go and write the scene first, then go back to to the points leading to it. But I feel this ruins the organic process of creating in your story. I can't tell you how many times I've been writing up to a big scene, only to have it change drastically thanks to a small change in the build up (the build up I am rushing to move through).

There are also times when I feel I'm too sloooooow. I enjoy writing dialogue, especially when it's developing relationships between characters. I hate to admit it, but where my pacing was too fast before, it completely comes to a stand still here. Or at least rather, as I see it.

So where is the happy medium? Many writers will say, you have to juggle the slow and the fast and interweave them so the reader gets caught up in a whirlwind, but then also has time to rest. I agree 100%, but I find it hard to tell if I am creating the right type of harmony within my novel regarding this.

No real point or conclusion to this rambling, just my thoughts as I come up for air from writing.
Edit: Lacks did a real awesome follow-up post to this. Read it here: http://stevenlacks.blogspot.com/2011/09/re-pace-in-writing.html