Aw shit, son. They gone and done it. It's that time again.
I ain't even mad. Haven't been working on fan fic for a while. My SSB manuscripts molder, stuffed away in sleeping hard drives, so I'm not worried about keeping up to date. Come to think of it, perhaps once the full roster is revealed, I could take another crack at it. Pretty irresponsible given all this original stuff I'm working on, trying to be all srs bsnz, but the temptation is there. Got a metric ass load of ideas I never fully executed on. Though oftentimes it's best to start over fresh. Naw, naw, I must be good.
Thoughts and impressions so far: - Great job on the contrasting graphics styles of the portable and console versions. Nintendo was crazy to wait this long for a handheld installment. - Hardcore tourney freaks are already crying. It does look rather Brawl-ish, but then I'm not an expert. The game looks developed past the rough alpha stage (again, not an expert), but who knows what could change. Perhaps Sakurai is merely revamping the Brawl engine? I wouldn't mind a smoother and faster feel for running and jumping myself. - Bowser looks even better than his Brawl incarnation. This pleases me. - I hope we get Snake and Sanic back. No idea what the odds are but I figure better than 50/50. - Is Little Mac playable too much to ask for, this time around? I figure his odds are better than even as well, but if the assist trophies are brought back he may be forced to stay there. King Hippo should be the trophy this time around. - Wonder what they'll do for FE? Sigh. Just like before, they'll play coy for months and months, the bastards. It feels likely Ike will get switched out for the new flavor of the month, ala the pokemans, they way they did Mewtwo and will probably boot Lucario for something newer. I hope Ike stays and we get a third FE, given Marth and Ike are very different fighters and there's plenty more weapon types to explore. Marth is hopefully safe, since he's been in since Melee and perhaps Sakurai will think of him as a classic Smash character by now. And Ike was in a Wii game... - Please restore at least some of the power of old to Samus and Captain Falcon. Toss the Zero Suit. - Should they bother with a story this time? Of all the elements, it's the content most likely to suffer from development time running short. Then again, rushed to market as it was, the Subspace Emissary mode did offer up so many moments of sweet, concentrated fanboy joy. Guess I hope they give it another shot. Even failure would be entertaining. - No Ridley. He's too big for the stages. - Very happy with the new 3rd party entry. I do appreciate that they're favoring a weapon-based moveset over punching and kicking, though the dragon uppercut rushed blood into my genitals at the mere sight of it.
- Oh yeah, and this newcomer puts a smile on my face. I was always of the opinion that we needed more women characters in Smash:
Stay furious, nerds and dudebros. I for one welcome our new fit, racially indeterminate overlord.
For, I think, the first time in my life I was invited to a Halloween party. My favorite holiday, and now a chance to flail at being a social creature again. A rather informal affair held in bar/strip joint across the river. The Starbucks girls invited me. Sorry, but it's the only coffee place even close to my job.
They see me all the time. One of my coworkers is marrying one of them.
Back at work, I opened a browser window and went to google maps, plotted my route, chose which bridge I would use to cross.
You should know now, that for over a year we have been feeding a stray feral cat. And I mean feral.
Stray populations exploded in our city last year. I don't remember a previous time when this was the case, but it happened in 2010, ready or not. The first ones under our care, a kitten and a almost fully grown kitten, took to us fast. We had them eating from our hands. We wanted to take them in, but then they vanished one summer night. Perhaps they'd become too trusting. That was me and my family's fault.
My mom took it the hardest. She's wanted another cat for a while, ever since our cat of many years passed away two Christmases ago. But my dad says no. He hates the furballs. He suffered ours for well over a decade. My mom goes along with it, but I know she can't help but get attached. How can she not want to take them in. She can't help but hurt when they're taken away. Left alone again.
But her grief didn't last long. Another cat wandered along soon after. This cat was fully grown and had no love for man. This cat was wise.
Bronze backing dark brown tiger tabby stripes all down its back and tail. White belly and paws. An adorable face, but one that always looked at you with the widest possible eyes.
Silent it was. Never meowed or hissed. It began showing up in the fall for the food mom leaves for the crows. It came back night after night, but would run from food if it even looked like we were considering a move in its general direction. It took half a year before the cat felt safe enough to only retreat halfway across the yard where it watched from behind the tree.
I thought the mid-western winter would be the end of it. The coat was short-hair, though it might have had an undercoat, it was hard to tell. There was plenty of snow and ice. Many bitter days and arctic nights, for two weeks at a time or longer. The wind blew hard if it blew at all. Some days the cat never showed, the food remained on the back stoop, uneaten in the crusted snow. It never used the shelter we'd made for the previous cats out of an old tupperware storage bin. No tracks, no spoor.
But the cat always came back. It stuck around when the pair of raccoons moved in on the food supply. Sometimes, late at night, I'd hear the screech and chitter of feline warring against scavenger. Hard to mistake those noises. The raccoons went away or were killed by the spring time.
The cat's visits became like clockwork. Seven or eight every evening, as the night's fist began to tighten down. Still it waited for us to retreat into the house before it deigned to stalk forth and eat, and it never stopped watching in all directions. But it began to snub the stale food she left for it. The cat would lie down on the stoop, retreat the door slid open, and then wolf down the good stuff when it thought its privacy resumed. Only fresh food would do. I was proud of the stray for that. It hated and feared human smell and proximity as its ancestors must have, but a cat has standards, always.
Last week, mom told me it had begun to squall at her. To vocalize. Cat experts will tell you that full-on wild felines rarely have use for their vocal cords unless they're fighting or fucking. Cats imitate our speech--I mean, we only gibber at or around them constantly--to modify our behavior, influence us, master us even. Any cat owner worth a damn can tell you about the "kitten voice," or the purr of displeasure. Their guttural grunts and yelps are communication just like our throat noises, if somewhat less articulate.
Our ruthless feral had begun to talk.
After my shift ended, I went to eat at a pancake house that stays open late enough for the drunks and loaner freaks like me to catch a last chance omelet. I decided I would head home before departing for the party, clean up first, even if it meant a longer drive.
I drove back towards my parent's house along Asshole Ave. as I call it. It runs past the block our house is on. It earned this nickname because the stupid and the butthurt assholes who plague our streets seem to become twice as dense, twice as dangerous while driving on it. I've at times wondered if it serves as a practice ground for car collision insurance scam artists. Can't count the number of times I've been cut off, or have someone drive at insanely slow speeds, sometimes after speeding up and pulling ahead of me. They boldly turn out from the strip mall parking lots into oncoming traffic. They sit and stare at green lights, wondering what the purdy colors might signify. Twice I've narrowly escaped having someone switch lanes into me while I'm driving right besides them. Had someone driving towards me, in my lane, in the wrong direction. Nothing gets your blood pumping like a game of chicken after lunch.
I hate the fucking place. But this nexus of assclownage isn't so bad in the middle of the night.
I'm wondering if I'll take a lot of shit for showing up wearing no costume. This whole thing's rather last minute, and what if they're not just buzzed, but blasted? Will we have much to talk about then?
I'm driving past the mexican restaurant and ice cream place when I see a road-killed animal about a foot away from the curb. Just to the right of the checkered lane divider line there's a big splotch of blood.
I see dead raccoons and squashed groundhogs all the time. The occasional possum. But this body caught my eye. It's belly glowed bright white in my head lights. As I speed past, I see a hint of tabby stripes in the shadows.
I drive on for about another block. "No."
I turn around. "C'mon. That's not supposed. No."
I stop this time. I have to be sure. I there's a large spot of red on the white belly. The size is right, the tail is the same. I know I should look at the face but I can't force myself to leave the car.
I can't decided if I should tell Mom or not. If she and dad drive down that road tomorrow, she's bound to see it.
Sorry, ladies. I'm no longer in the mood for a party.
Here's a video I didn't take of the show. At the beginning of this video, had this guy turned the camera a few degrees of the left, he would've caught me in the crowd. Then the whole internets would've known what I look like. Crisis averted.
There was some nu metal emo band opening for The Protomen. A few in the crowd were there for them. Boy, did they get a shock when these guys took the stage. They start their shows with K.I.L.R.O.Y. taking stage and asking us if we will battle with them. Hell yeah, we'll battle with you.
It was remarked upon several times how we mid-westerners are too polite. We were shouting our lungs out, but I guess we're not as rowdy as crowds elsewhere. At least we managed to make enough noise to force them out for an encore.
Got the first chapter of my latest fic done, oh, about two weeks ago now. It was over 10K. Ended with the line of: "And thus did Link pass through the gates of Outer Heaven."
Not sure if it'll be the real first chapter, or end up as background notes and reference. I've got too many choices for an inciting incident. Figuring out where to start a story is a fine art indeed. Late in, early out, as they say. But it's not always so obvious. Well, that's second draft worries. Still have to finish this.
I won't post desired goals and deadlines here, for fear I'll jinx them.
Finally going to get this sucker done. It's been too long, and I've held it too precious. You can't cope with a precious story. Writers great and small have tried. Tried and died. I let it go, tossed it away. And now I pick it up, all casual like, and I don't care if it doesn't end up my greatest work. Not that I do great work as a fan fic writer, but, you know...
One hard thing about writing every day, you have to face how much you suck as a writer every day. Can't keep putting it off until tomorrow, daydreaming about how awesome it'll all be and how far you've come as a writer. Nose to the hard, grinding reality of it. The cold splash in the face you never quite get used to. Feels like I'll never write enough, never read enough to get even half-way decent. Crawllllling in my skinnnnnn, etc.
It's not hard to write every day anymore. At least not most days. That's the good news. No, great news. Aside from cringing at my output, that is.
I have a few stories more or less ready to post. I've mentioned them before. I don't want to release them all at once, but I hate the idea of allowing months to pass between new stories. Should I stop whining and post one of them now, and damn what happens later? Should I hold out until every last duck is in its row? Advice, anyone?
Just finished reading Hal Duncan's novella Escape From Hell! wherein, you guessed it, is a story of people dying, going to Hell, and attempting escape. Highly recommended, esp. taken with Harlan Ellison's short story The Death Bird for a chaser. Both have as themes (among others): God's a bastard and it's past time the fucker goes down.
Stories, that for me, are an irreverent brew that helped wash a bad taste lingering in my mouth since last month. Few weeks ago, I was sitting in my favorite book store's cafe, sipping coffee, reading a magazine before I got down to writing.
Sometimes I really have to wonder wtf is wrong with me. Like most people, I like media that's funny. That can produce that really deep belly laughter that hurts so good. Or even just a chuckle. Brightens the day by a micron or two.
But enjoying great humor writing and being able to produce the same oneself are two very different things. And unlike the stuff I write, you can't just sorta half-way succeed at teh funny. It's all or nothing when the punch line comes round, baby.
I don't know why my stuff tends to be darker than the canon's tone. Original flavor appears beyond my grasp.
Sure, I enjoy dark or serious stories just as much as the humor, and I'm inspired by them, but that can't explain it all, can it?
Here's a recent example. I decide to write a Super Mario Bros AU. I decide that it's going to be violent, with plenty of dark accents, sure. But I also want it to not take itself so seriously. I don't want it to be gorn or deathly serious. It's going to be a fun story, full of knowing winks and charm and adventure. First paragraph comes out fine.
But before I finish the first page, this is what comes out!:
He spotted the Toads now, rounded heads and chubby bowling pin bodies skittering through the murk, hunched over the koopas and goombas and shyguys they had slain, little hands groping and little curved knives flashing up and down in the dim light as they stripped the bodies of his soldiers for loot. Loot that was not only the equipment his kin carried but their very flesh as well. Koopa shells, in particular, were a prized commodity in the market places of these abominations.
See? I can't have nice things. Am I so one-note? Must I always take the lowest, darkest road possible?
I'd like to think I'm capable of more.
It's something about writing fights, battles, wars that gets to me. I can't force myself to pull back, to leaven my punches. When people...things try to kill each other, I don't see any beauty in it, even if my characters do. A big part of me hates to romanticize battle. Yet, I crave action scenes.
And us writers, we often have to write what makes us happy, frightened, terrified, pissed off, uncomfortable. Because how else can we make readers feel emotion if we cannot believe in it ourselves?
But is that really the true answer? Am I just being lazy, making excuses?
I read on and write on, hoping to find the answers. It's all I know to do.
My fic isn’t making the deadline for the latest MGS/ contest. It came kinda close, I got a second draft out of it. But it needs a serious overhaul into 3rd draft before I can release it to the public and not die of shame. Not enough time for a slow writer like me, too much real life angst going on, rough week at work, and I can always release it later.
New year, new default userpic. Like it? Does it...turn you on? Don't answer that...
Well dearest readers, as you can see by the ad over there, I've finally whored out to LJ's advertising. And for what did I sell my integrity and self respect, you ask? (you know, the things I never had to begin with? Ha ha LJ, suckers!)
Why, a higher user pic limit of course!!!
I had a hard time finding any I liked. Either I'm looking in all the wrong places, or most people stopped making video game icon pics a long time ago. Some of them hint at projects I'll publish this year, god willing and the creek don't rise, and some of them are lies. Kinda like the engrish hints those bullshitting peasants give you in Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest. Have fun guessing.
I don't make new years resolutions. One should resolve oneself to new resolutions when the time is ripe, not on the arbitrary dictation of moldy tradition. January is a terrible time of the year to change one's life, for a large number of reasons. Also, the gyms are so damn crowded. Ugh. It so happens, though, that I find myself giving serious consideration to my lack of output this past year. I need desparately to pick up this slack that's strangling me. More on that later. Maybe.
As I discussed with Shadow Holds Sway, I'll try to get a preview of my WIPs up by Feb. or March. There's a ton of stuff I want to get done this year. If only I could figure out how to balance writing new material with rewriting and editing the old. I have a hard time doing more than one thing at once. Any advice, anecdotes, dear readers?
And I really should get around to addressing the Golden Hammer situation one of these yearsmonths days.
Before I post anything serious, I wanted to share some of my favorite stupid stuff I've found this last year. Behold!
There's less than 2 and one half months left in the year, and I'm having a hard time deciding what to do with them, fan fic wise.
I've been a bit squeezed for time this year, (a sick cat, lifestyle changes, spending more time in the gym, searching for other jobs, etc.) and haven't accomplished as much as I wanted. What else is new.
I have 2 long-short stories ready to post, but I'm tempted to hold them back until 2010. Smart move? Should I spend the rest of the year revising old material or trying to write new stuff?
This year I have been closely studying stories I admire, using them as models for my writing. Looking upon my rough drafts and my 3rd drafts, I have never felt so much contempt for my own efforts. So much hatred for the fruits of my labor. I have never edited and revised and edited my own material the way I have this year. That's slowed me down as well. I'm learning so much, but I worry it'll never be enough.
One of the problems I'm dealing with now has come around because I’ve spent more time revising than creating new material, to the point where I've become afraid to produce another story. Because that will mean confronting another rough draft that is a failure.
For the longest time I've dealt with the fear of failure in my writing by reciting the mantra that failure is how we learn. And besides, it's just fan fic, right? I still believe that, but damn if the fear hasn't got me pinned down anyways. "You always have the rewrite later on to get things right," I've told myself in the past. It gave me the courage to plunge through the rough draft. Get it done before the doubt could catch up to me.
I used to enjoy rewriting. And oftentimes it's still fun. Yet, I get tired of having to write entire new chapters or redo chapters (yet another drag on my productivity). Nothing worth doing comes easy I guess. Just a font of platitudes, ain't I?
I have got to overcome this, but when deciding on which new projects to pursue, other considerations make this even more intimidating.
Most of my projects have been free-written. Free writing is the opposite of plotting and outlining one's story ahead of time. Writers who are outliners often have fewer revising drafts to complete before their story is publishable. Yet I've never enjoyed sitting down and plotting out a plot on paper. It feels like plucking arbitrary plot elements out of the air and using them to fill in the blanks, like those booklets of ad lib scripts that used to be so popular. It's seems so contrived.
"Okay. Sonic is snogging Peach behind Mario's back. When...I need a complication here...Peach and Sonic both catch a Shadow Bug-based STD planted by the agents of Tabuu, and now a turning point uhhhhh, Mario's long lost 2nd brother returns and demands money. Wait, what?"
Hey, that's not terrible. Maybe I'm just a moron when it comes to design and logistics.
Free writers, which for the longest time is what I thought I was, come across our best ideas and writing by going in with no plan at all. Oftentimes I don't really know what my story is about until I've finished the rough draft and then re-read it. Discovery is what free writing is all about. We make a mess and then build something up from the chaos.
Often times my approach has been a slight mix of the two. I keep a rough sketch of story goals and an abridged "movie" of the plot in my head as a write a story, ususally at least a couple of chapters ahead of where I'm currently writing. The goals, or the point, of the story don't always come through so clear to me though. I get a bix mixed up, forget things. So this method has produced rather mixed results.
I seem fine with free-writing story events, plot, and details, through often these will need to be cleaned up and reordered and clarified. Hench the whole "I have to finish a story to know what the story is," thing.
My free-written character development sucks, however. Now I'm trying to outline my characters before writing. Figure out who they are at the beginning, and what they show themselves to be at the end. Determine their goals, their conscious and unconscious goals, and desires. Their worst fears.
Hard work, and I'm not sure I've got the hang of it yet. All this falls under the umbrella of crafting characters instead of using their inherent appeal as pre-existing intellectual properties as a crutch, which as been one of my biggest weaknesses to date.
Then there's the issue that I want to write something big, something that comes in multiple installments. The video game fanfic equivalent of a long running manga or comic book series. But I don't want to still be writing fan fic five years from now. And the fan fic readership on the Internet seems skewed towards shorter, stand-alone works over doorstopper serials. Not that I blame readers for this. It's easier on the eyes, for one thing. More about this in a future post. Needless to say, I believe there's a sliding gradient of diminishing returns the more ambitious a fan fic project becomes. Until you move outside the text medium, that is.
Dear oh dear. What to do, what to do…
I don't think I'll be doing NanoWriMo this year. I've still got so much to revise, and the new stuff I want to write is either projected to be far less or far more than 50K word count scale. Then again, it’s an excellent motivator.
I never got around to blogging about NaNoWriMo. I'll put that off yet again.
If only there was some way to squeeze a novel's worth of content and emotional impact into a novella-sized serial. I wonder.
Edit: oh, all my problems with character development would not exist if only I'd been able to listen to the King Of Fighters movie cast's views on character deveolpment. I am so angry right now. All those wasted years! Kaaahhhnnn!
This is a meme I found on fireholly's journal. Post the first line or three of the 20 most recent fan fics you've posted. Well, I haven't actually posted a full 20 fics in my life, though I'm getting close. So a few of these are from WIP's and some are abandoned fics no one will ever see outside of another Old Shame Theater installment.
There are a few fics of mine out there, early stuff, that I've lost forever after they were posted to a forum. Just mentioning it so you know you're not getting a complete history here. These go from most ancient at the top, down to newest at the bottom.
Reading over these lines now, I see plenty of wince-inducing structure issues, awkward phrasings, and at least of couple of them don't appear to be grammatically correct. I always thought I had good opening lines, and granted a few of these are from un-revised works, but it's still obvious I need to work harder on first impressions.