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.