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  1. [url="https://docs.google.com/document/d/19TLC1FGwOlCHHZ-MI1Asiti0efwj6f9Kr1JXHRpDnw8/edit?hl=en_US"]This[/url] goes through stage 1 (skip the grey), then we stopped there and worked on unrelated stuff for a pitch, but basically the bad guys show up, Frank Hank fights them off using a walking tank, and then there is a plot where the bad guys clone the tank in question. It closes with this which I'll put here cause it's plot related and I guess plot is important or something. [quote](Bad guy) "That robot’s power is simply... Amazing! I must have one!" (Frank Hank) "Hah, no man, I got it from an amusement park. Walking tanks are actually a terrible idea. In fact-" (Bad guy) "In the Battle of Britian the English pretended the effects of their radar was simply a special diet of carrots for night vision. Don’t think I’m so easily fooled by your disinformation campaign. We’ll be back." (Mayor) "Excellent work, Frank Hank! You better get back quick cause el Ruma de Santiago is defending the title in half an hour!" (Frank Hank) "Gotta pass, ma’am. Looks like I better get ready to defend my own title."[/quote] And then it's war, and stuff, between the city militias. I don't normally write down any backstory, the post here was just typing to amuse myself and was actually meant to be semi-self-contained. It did get some laughs IRL so I'm happy with it.
  2. A friend of mine is pitching some walking tanks game idea at his school as a term art project or something, yada yada. There's a story and some characters and a whole bunch of code, design stuff that doesn't matter on this forum. I'm posting this because I suddenly have a moment and feel like writing. This is an exercise for me, might as well spam the forum while I'm at it. The cast: ---[b]The Mayor (of Portville)[/b] [b] [/b] When asked her real name, she answered, "the more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you". She won the election by a landslide as an independent thanks to her catchy bumper sticker slogan; "Fuck Tea, Fuck Parties! Mayor for Mayor 2213". Unfortunately being the Mayor of Portville doesn't pay much and, ever since she signed the [i]Free Weed Act[/i], not a lot of work either, so she does some mayoring on the side up in [i]Spaceportville[/i]. [url="http://cultmonkey.com/images/spacemayor2.jpg"]Here she is wearing a tie over her space suit[/url]. She once spent a year in a bunker with an annoying stranger because she thought aliens were invading. They were, in fact, just filming a nature documentary. The confusion started when their producer insisted that humans go on "stampedes" and had the director fire a laser into a crowded mall to get the "perfect shot". As a live witness, one might expect her to appreciate their dedication to dramatic effect. Unfortunately, she's the kind of person who watches World Federation Cockfighting and only goes to theme restaurants so things like artistic license went right over her head (along with the smoking remains of a guy she was just getting up the courage to talk to) so she ran off and hid like some kind of a [i]child[/i]. As if that isn't enough, even though she insists she doesn't watch M*A*S*H, she always laughs whenever city militia leader Frank Hank does his Radar impression. [b] [/b] ---[b]Antagonist (Name Pending)[/b] [b] [/b] General Badguy heads the Baddiebad National Army, from the nearby city-state of Flannelton. His people are upset that children as young as 26 are receiving TV signals from Portville featuring subversive "jew television" like Seinfeld and advertisements for morally questionable luxuries like flavored cough syrup. After one too many offenses including a 24-hour Bugs Bunny Marathon that repeatedly featured jokes about cross-dressing and the introduction of the Cartoon Porn Network, it was clear that Flannelton needed a [i]Hero[/i]. General Badguy found himself a team of dedicated young men (40+) with enough Moral Outrage to power an M-1 Abrams tank. He then - after disconnecting his crew from their MO-DC converter cables - drove that tank straight into to Portville and demanded they take down the satellite dish. But el Ruma de Santiago was defending his title that night and the Mayor wasn't about to miss [i]that[/i], so she called in the big guns. [b] [/b] [b]---Frank Hank[/b] The folks of modern Portville aren't the most martial of generations, so when they realized they needed help defending themselves, they used a time machine to bring 1970s rocker / war hero Frank Hank to the 22nd century to be the head of the city militia. Once, Frank Hank accidentally let an 11-year-old girl into the militia on account of her fake ID. Nothing very bad happened though, aside from the war, and Frank Hank defended himself noting just how hard it is to find anyone with both a driver's license [i]and[/i] a clean drug test, noting that he wasn't "going to fill [their] only four tanks with hippies" and that her new robotic arm replacement is "pretty rad, like Luke Skywalker".
  3. [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]I read the story again just now. I saw it when it was first posted but it didn't catch me. I'll explain.[/size][/color] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]I see [i]prose[/i] and I see [i]ideas[/i]. I do [i]not[/i] see a storyline. (This is not a complaint, just clarifying.) I'll look at these two aspects.[/color][/size] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]As prose goes [i]it's not bad[/i]. We get much, much worse here regularly. It's kind of long winded. And presumably an actual game would not use prose to express these things, so I don't understand the use-case of this work.[/size][/color] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]On the idea department, I see nothing at all. It's just some regurgitated pop culture.[/color][/size][color="#1C2837"][size="2"] Big towers, power armor, some Final Fantasyish sword thing, etc.[/size][/color] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]That isn't necessarily a problem for a story in and of itself, but there's just nothing to get in on. [/size][/color][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]If I wanted to make a story like that, I would not buy into one unless it comes with a pre-existing fan base.[/size][/color] [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]If I wanted something like that, I would go find a competent writer and tell him or her to [/size][/color][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]"make some generic sci-fi thing or something".[/size][/color] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]If that person is going to be you, I need to see a portfolio of creative writing including games (writing with use-case & format) and whole works (of any kind).[/color][/size] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"] [/color][/size] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]I also need to know that this person is going to be easy to work with. Maybe it was just a bad day or something but you seem a lot more delicate than anyone at my office and definitely more so than Sun who shrugs off and\or calmly answers all kinds of criticism that could be taken much more personally.[/color][/size]
  4. About the child, I suspect Wai just hasn't "been there". I've wanted a baby for years and kind of had to wait until such a thing was - forgive these cold terms - [i]economically viable. [/i]Now I do and I'm super happy and love my baby. "She wants to be able to afford to have a baby" is basically code for "she wants to have a baby". Definitions of "able to" will vary but as a general rule we might say "can spare both time and resources necessary to facilitate a good enough childhood". That the baby is a status symbol is [i]not[/i] implicit.
  5. I agree with a lot of the above; "show, don't tell" is is [i]not[/i] a creative constant. It is a strategy to avoid unengaging flat assertions. It's about engagement, and basically all sorts of things from backstory to exposition to [i]computer manuals[/i] can be engaging if you're smart. If you're new, adopting the "show, don't tell" mantra will likely improve your writing by forcing you to avoid certain unengaging flat assertions, however if you go a bit deeper into it, you can do a lot of things that could be described as "telling" and it will, in fact, work perfectly well [i]no matter what your format is[/i].
  6. I like Victor's approach. I have a story here with a pair of cities named Marksworth - named for its founder - and Galvania which means f-knows-what but it sounds kinda like "galvanize"; it's made of English phonemes and arrangements of sounds, so it may sound more natural to an English speaker. Contrast "Galvania" with "Wrzeszcz", for example. In Wrzeszcz, the W is like the English V, the RZ is like the 2nd consonant in "measure", the SZ is like our SH (sorta) and the CZ is like our CH (sorta). These are all sounds present in American English, but the [i]arrangement[/i] is [i]not.[/i] So it sounds completely alien and is difficult to pronounce the first time. Similarly, a lot of Poles can't pronounce words like Prosthesis. But of course don't go overboard there. Another story I had featured "Portville" which is just code for Portland. "Gotham" and "Metropolis" are the same thing, but for New York. (New York was sometimes known as Gotham IRL, [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotham_City#Origin_of_name"]and that's where that name came from[/url].) You can screw with things like this for effect.
  7. Hi Sun, I like the new story.
  8. In pretty much all cases I recommend against such lore dumps. However, if that's what you're going for (and otherwise some very light writing), than you can if you can manage to make the whole paragraph work as it's own super-short story. I'm pretty baked right now but I'm going to rejig it a tad and see what I come up with. [quote]Prince Jarell went to bed one night and bed's where he stayed. His dad found every shaman, doctor, priest and (somehow) a genie to wake him, but they failed, and time runs out when you can't eat. They say the "void" came and took his mind that night. They might say the same for you if you don't [b]wake up[/b].[/quote] This would lead into a dream-world adventure and you might meet the prince and the genie later and other characters who can expand on things, and you'd develop a lot of material [b]as you go[/b]; the quote above does little more than lead into the [b]actual[/b] adventure. Lots of details are left off and vague. There is no lore in it; it paints a picture of what happens when the void comes, then maps that onto the friends and family of the protagonist (without actually mentioning them). It closes with a more easily said than done instruction. This instruction is your ultimate goal for the game (the one I just made up). Also important w/r/t cultivating a mental image of the void, is that it does so strictly in terms of its affect on the human experience.
  9. Oops. That's probably a winner. I had said that cause I've seen numerous articles elsewhere that don't go much into it and I thought that was typical, but I admit I haven't looked in a long time.
  10. I second Sun's advice; writing in a limited perspective. You pick an individual and write a work where the narrative knows what that individuals knows, when they know it. No "little did he know" or assertions about facts they're not aware of. Strictly. If you read a lot you know 3rd-person-limited isn't a [i]rule[/i] but as a beginner you can learn a lot about avoiding flat assertions and making things natural by doing that. I'm writing a large story in 3rd-person-limited as an exercise.
  11. This might also touch on trust issues. The reader has to believe that there is indeed more. In this case, you can interpret that: 1) A wizard owns a sword 2) He left it on a cliff 3) [i]Some say[/i] it has magical powers. This can be interpreted as a statement about the wizard or as one about the people (who think it has powers) or both or more. If that was intentional, than yes, you're almost there, but (as seen above and I agree) it's hard to tell if you're actually doing that or if you're just confused. [i]Cultivating trust is important[/i]. Another issue is that basically you made the sentence very [i]roundabout[/i]. Modernists like Woolf do this but it's very tricky to do well and [i]very[/i] easy to do wrong. As a beginner you're safe adopting business writing tactics for your sentences. [url="http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/06/the_day_you_bec.html"]Read here[/url]. To apply that to fiction, make clear, concise statements that can imply more than their face value and don't worry about making engaging word structures. We could write blurbs like: [quote]A sorcerer once owned a sword, but he left it on a cliff somewhere. Some folks say it has magical powers.[/quote] [quote]There's a cliff way out where a sorcerer left his sword. Some say it has magical powers.[/quote] [quote]"There's a sword with magical powers out on some cliff somewhere. They say a wizard left it there."[/quote]. etc. etc. Depending on where one wants to direct attention. Also mind framing. Whether someone is going to take your sentence at face value or read it as "ha ha, crazy people think there's magic" or what depends a lot on how you've framed the discussion; [i]what's the context?[/i] What is one reading about and how does this blurb relate to that? Is this plot about lost artifacts or ignorant villagers or forgetful wizards or something else altogether? A reader's perception of the context affects how they'll interpret what you write. Blanc saw you as a learner and assumed you're confused. That's context. I could cut and paste that sentence verbatim into another context and it'd have a totally different meaning.
  12. I think I'll write a little into that topic here since it's usually not explained well beyond "show, don't tell", even if you Google it. All writing should be engaging. Realize that reading is an active process. A key strategy of engagement is to treat the reader as an active participant and a lot of basic tools of engagement are centered around this. First the basic idea. Spose I write: [quote]A man stuck his head out the door, glanced around till he caught sight of Mister Coffee's mouth and said, "No smoking here, asshole!" Coffee blew a cloud in his face.[/quote] From this we can, if we so please, construct a literal narrative; a man smells smoke. He leans out to search for it, and instructs the smoke to stop. (He does not like smoke.) The smoker refuses, rudely. But when I rewrite it like that, it's very flat. Don't write flat. But it's not strictly about showing & telling, as one can do all sorts of things. Take this sentence from [url="http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/woolf/monday/monday.html#03"]Monday or Tuesday[/url]: [quote]Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.[/quote] The first part, "lazy and indifferent", relates to the short as a whole and I won't go into that. The latter, however, can mean nothing at all until you start interpreting it. My first thought was the mental image of stars vanishing and reappearing as the heron flies past, occluding them, but then that wouldn't make sense. The [i]sky[/i] veiled the stars. And when does it do that? Daytime. "The sky veils her stars; then bares them" can be interpreted as de-romanticizing the passage of time; day and night is just some thing that happens. Or something. You can also do this as the level of the [i]whole work.[/i] If one wrote a crime novel, but it's [i]really[/i] about campaign finance reform, than she's treating the reader as an active participant. Go and do likewise. How long is another matter. I've written things that entertained people in hours, and generally try to get a laugh whenever I can IRL and to do that you have to work with [i]seconds[/i]. But when getting into it, I've twice taken about a month to write a ~2000 word story and about three months to write a ~125000 story. What's the function? Lord knows; simple fact is you need time to think things over and that doesn't correlate in any simple manner with what you're writing.
  13. How's that going? Anything to show?
  14. [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]@Sun[/color][/size] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"] [/color][/size] [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]I know exactly where you're coming from.[/color][/size]
  15. [quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1317958287' post='4869967'][color=#1C2837][size=2]how do you decide what to write when you sit down to write? Do you write on any sort of schedule or quota, or just when the mood grabs you?[/size][/color][/quote] I never answered this. (I'll come back and read through more posts later tonight.) When I wrote most I had a schedule where I would get up between 2 and 3 AM, make steamed rice & black coffee and sit on the kitchen floor with the Macbook and write until everyone else would start waking up. This got around 3k words a day typically. Today I must settle for "whenever I can find a moment" but like that is the [i]best[/i].