Monday, December 21, 2015

What Video Games Have Taught Me

Finally figured out that this is Knives from the graphic novel series
"Scott Pilgrim" by Bryan Lee O'Malley
I really am starting to hate December, and I hate that I'm hating December, because I should love December. December has my husband's birthday, Spink's birthday, Christmas, and a slew of other holidays that my mother had us celebrate while growing up. Aside from the cold, I used to LOVE December.

The family time together. The decorations. The music and movies. The traditions.

Yeah, all that went in the toilet as soon as I moved out.

Crazy retail work weeks due to hectic holiday shoppers. Exhaustion from running around work in order to pay the extra bills not included in living at home with Mommy. Football taking over nearly every evening. Lack of children negating the "need" to do all the normal holiday extra stuff - decorating, checking out the neighbors' lights, watching movies, listening to music, baking cookies, etc. With just the two of us, December becomes the last minute run to the end of the year. I routinely forget what day of the week it is, let alone what date it is.

Hence me missing last week's blog post. Didn't even notice that I missed it until today. All my focus is on finishing the crochet project for my nephew, cleaning the house, finishing gift shopping, wrapping said gifts, and kicking this head cold's butt.

Oh, and my faithful car that I've had since 2006 is on death's door - has been since July, truthfully - and so I finally pulled the trigger and bought a new car. Problem being, the one that we found within our price range is a standard five-speed. I don't know how to drive stick. The only other option was an automatic - that I did love, by the way - that was more than three times the price. I couldn't justify spending the extra coin on the automatic. So, standard it is, and now I need to learn how to drive the darn thing!

So, it's probably pretty clear that writing has fallen to the back burner this past month.

Oddly enough, though, it kind of hasn't.

The wheels have still been churning over the past month. I don't have one thing I'm focusing on, though. I keep trying. While I'm spending hours mindlessly shelving and dusting at work I keep telling myself "This is a great time to let your mind wander and for you to mentally write something. Anything!" In the end, though, because I'm not working on a particular project, I come up blank.

I keep trying, though. Always keep trying.

I finished up the writing prompt for the last 2015 writer's meeting tomorrow night. It's definitely not my best work, but the concept didn't really catch my interest enough for my full heart to be in it. Still, it's one of the only pieces of the anthology that I put up on DeviantArt that was favorited. Two different people within three days of me posting it. So, maybe what I think is good is vastly different than what others believe to be good. Who knows?

"What a Crumby Day"

It's actually super short compared to my normal works. It only clocks in at like 1200 words or something. I'm not very good at slice-of-life stories, which is what that turned out to be. It didn't need to be, though. I could have gone in any genre I wanted. All I needed to do was include the following elements from each sense:
  • Feels Satin
  • Smells Musky Perfume
  • Sees Ice Breaking
  • Tastes Apple Pie
  • Hears Bells
I don't know why I ended up writing slice-of-life when I'm so bad at it. I didn't even do so on purpose to try to practice and improve. I just went with the story that came to me. Part of the "Channeling Methodology" of writing, I guess.

Besides working on the writing prompt to read tomorrow, I've been brewing things in my head the past few days. Mostly taking note on what I need to do for further world building.

It's the holidays, and it's been crazy. Both Ronoxym and Cyhyr work retail as well, plus both have much larger families than Hubby and I do. So I figured their crazy must be a step up from ours, and so I halted on my playful harassment of Ron on the progress of Please, Let Me Explain. At least, until the new year. Come 2016, I'm going Life Coach on him about this story.

In the meantime, as I mentioned, I've been brainstorming more world building.

A friend lent Hubby his copy of Skyrim. Yes, we are slowpokes who haven't even attempted to play this game in the 4yrs since it came out. Our friend thought that was a travesty, and he's too fixated on Star Wars Battlefront right now to really care about playing Skyrim anyway. So, Hubby's been playing for the past few days.

Hubby's one best man Shadow - AKA The Bard, as he was previously referred to in this blog - has always stated that the best thing about the Elder Scrolls games was the lore and background they put into the open-world storytelling. You could become just about anything. You could do just about anything. You can wander just about anywhere. The game world was your oyster. So the thing that really ties it all together - since the actual game plot is very vague and buried under all the open-world fun you can have - is the depth, complexity, and realism of the world you run around in.

Everyone has their own problems that don't rely on you. You can help them solve the problems, or they can take care of themselves. Just like in the real world. Characters don't just sit around and wait to hand you another piece of the plot's puzzle. They are having their own arguments and conversations that you walk into. Just like in the real world. I love it. This is what role play games should be like. Granted, I am horrible with first-person game play, which is the default of these games, which is why - despite the genre - I haven't been much of a fan. However, if I can learn to drive a standard car, perhaps I can master dual-thumbstick maneuvering in First-Person games.

This is all besides the point.

The point is I'm watching the detail and complexity of the world that Bethesda Games created. I'm loving it! I really am. Hubby needed to finish a side quest that required him to bring booze to the town drunk. Is said drunk just sitting and waiting for Hubby's return like in most games? NO! He had to run around the town for about five minutes before he found the guy, who was off doing whatever it was that he was planning on doing that day anyway. Hubby also runs across open fields to stumble upon people being attacked by raid groups that completely ignore the "hero" that just appeared. Hubby's character is so insignificant to the world he's running around in. Fantastic!

So, I'm realizing that I need to work on doing the same thing while creating Gyateara. I need to think of it as a large web of stories all unfolding together. Building lives that would run without the main characters of my stories ever getting involved. If I do what I originally planned with Gyateara, and have it as my own D&D world for campaigns, I need to make sure that the parties that run through my campaigns are just as insignificant to the world around them. That is, until they do something major enough to affect it. Having the world sit and wait for the players or the main characters is just poor world building and boring writing.

Nothing has really come to mind quite yet, but I'm setting the gears in motion to come up with these other mini-stories and conflicts to have in Gyateara. At this rate, I might not run a single campaign or write a single story in that world until I'm 50, but by gum, they'll be fantastic when I do!

In theory....

So, in case the week gets the better of me and I don't get the chance to make up my missed update by posting on time this week, have a merry Christmas. Even if you don't celebrate it, still have a merry and blissful December 25th.

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