Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Things to Say about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Hey y'all.  So I've been on a Legend of Zelda binge, watching all kinds of let's plays on these games. The only one I've ever played (that is, watched my brother play) is the original NES version decades ago.  As a person coming into the series with essentially no knowledge of the franchise whatsoever, I was surprised by the mysticism, randomness, and convolution present in the series.  It's like every single game is an experiment of gameplay and setting, and the story is forced to bend over backwards to compensate for all the new trinkets, different worlds, and varying graphic styles throughout the games as they go on.  Pretty interesting, actually, as a game can be absolutely anything the makers want it to be.

I haven't seen all the Legend of Zelda games yet, nor have I seen the full let's plays of some of these, but here's my first impression of some of them.

- Legend of Zelda (NES): Great example of NES era confusion. Despite being basically impossible to beat without a walkthrough, not knowing what to do is half the fun.  Great music, too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Write Club: Tips for Writing

Hey y'all.  So when it comes to writing, there's lots of pitfalls to producing wordcount.  Possibly the most difficult obstacle is just doing it -- sitting there at your computer and forcing words into the page.  There are so many excuses we have for not writing: chores, school, work, obligations, family...the list goes on.  And many of those excuses are genuinely good ones, so we stop feeling bad, mostly, when we don't write.  Or we get mad at other people for interfering with our writing time, but let's not go there.

One of the things I've found when I write well is that I find myself in a...well, a sort of "hypnotic" state.  I'm focused in on the work, not thinking of anything else but what I'm about to put on the page. It's like my mind is sending words on a conveyor belt to the factory that is my fingers.  I can't say if anyone else gets into this trance-like mode, but it feels assumable that those who are in the mood to write can really focus and put other things out of their minds.

There are ways to trigger this focused state, but it's not something you'll be inclined to feel.  There will be those days when you're too emotional (sad or angry, doesn't matter), and feel that you can't dig into what you're writing because of what's happened earlier in the day.  Or you're just plain feeling lazy.

So what can you do to achieve focus?  That usually depends on the individual.  However, I've accumulated a few tips that should help you channel your creativity properly.  See if they work for you, why not?

1. Force yourself to write

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 2015 Update

Hey y'all.  So I've been sporadic in updating, but lately I've got some things up.  I just wanted to talk a little about the things I have planned.  Well, not that I plan too much with this.  There are a lot of things on my plate, this blog generally serves as run-off for my scattered inspiration rather than an official place where I intend to...I dunno, make money or something.  Heh, if money were the case I'd be on Youtube by now.

Anyway, here are some things I've got in the pipe.

- My fanfiction Me and Aldaris has been on hiatus way too long.  I do intend to work more on it, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  It's not going to be the best story ever, but it's something I have that allows me to collect my mind drabbles about my favorite franchise.  It will happen, please be patient.

- I've been listening to a lot of music, and I have two blog ideas with this in mind.  One is a top ten list of songs that would be improved if they had no lyrics.  This one I'm not ready to write out yet, as I only have half of a list collected and I want to look into more popular music before being conclusive about it.  There's a lot of popular music that's ignorable these days.  The other blog, a top ten of Infected Mushroom songs, is also not quite ready, but given that they're a great study/writing band, I'll have this compiled soon.

- Write Club is something that should update at least once a month, as this is supposed to be a writer's blog, and it's good to address as much as possible those ideas in writing that aren't readily talked about in books, or just things that are interesting discussion starters in general.  Or me complaining about things I don't like in writing.  That's always fun.  For me, anyway.

I do have a Write Club post, and it's nothing too complicated.  More than likely, that'll be my soonest post.

- So, reviews.  I will always review whatever media I happen to watch lately, which may take a back seat now that school is on.  What I plan on doing is binging on schoolwork (online classes) and taking the extra time to write.  We'll see how that goes.

Me and Aldaris is a bigger priority for me than reviews, but reviews are fun, so they'll be around.  I wanted to do a Donkey Kong Country 3 discussion -- that's the reason why I bothered to review the first two games, which really need no introduction at this point.  Then there's the Star Trek '09 review, which I never did get around to, but still have all the notes for.  I also had the idea to review the Starcraft official fiction writers' books, so that we could see if they're better at their own universes, and if working with a game company's franchise tripped them up at all.  We do have many of those writers at my work in the sci fi section.

We'll see how that goes.  These aren't something that's immediately ready for writing, but they're ideas, and chances are I'll return to them.

- There is a post I'm working on for University of Orwell, but these posts are always going to be slow.  Thing is, good history books tend to be "thick" reads, mentally if not physically.  Thus, proper assessments of them will take time.  I should have another update post for this just as soon as I finish writing an assessment of a book I've just finished.

The bad news (for this blog) is that not only has school started, but I also have publishable works I really need to finish before the year ends.  I also hope to get a second job, if my first doesn't give me enough hours.  Life is complicated, but as long as there's something to rant about, you can bet I'll be on it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Write Club: Getting Advice from Writers

Hey y'all.  So I was thinking about receiving advice from other people who write.  Not all advice is good advice, or the correct advice for you personally.  Trouble is, you can't just read a book to correct your reading.  You already know most rules of grammar, and after you get to a certain point in writing, there's very little most writing books can tell you that you haven't already heard before, or learned for yourself through writing.  Some things about writing can't really be described, or described easily.  You have to learn it by writing it.

Okay, so you've got this manuscript or sample writing, but you don't know who to show it to.  It's always good to assess the people around you and figure out who is the best to learn from.  There's your family, but they for many reasons may not be all that helpful.  Some may be so proud of you for trying, or simply want to encourage you, so they say nice things about your work.  That's a nice ego boost, but at the end of the day that's really all it is.  You are not closer to your goal of being better or making your work more publishable.

Professional editors cost money, and so do writing contests.  Internet forums or messenger services require you to put your stuff online, which may or may not be a safe option.  Not to mention that receiving information in text form robs you of the context in reviewers' commentary.  It's really best to make friends who write, particularly ones you can meet with fairly often and can trust.

Writers, however, don't always make for the best reviewers.  There's a few caveats you need to be aware of.  There are three types of writers: worldbuilders, character creators, and plotters.  They focus each on different aspects of story, as I've mentioned on a previous blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nitpickery: Hunter X Hunter, Part 2

Hey y'all.  So it's back to Hunter X Hunter, and let's finish this thing.


Okay, so the fourth season pick up after an extremely violent fourth season.  Gon and Killua are trying to find Gon's father Ging, and attempt to do so by entering a game called Greed Island.

I have to say it -- naming the family Ging and Gon is a really bad pun.  For the record, "ging gon" is the Japanese onomatopoeia of the sound of a bell ringing.  So cheesy.

But anyway, Gon and Killua spent season 3 (when they weren't helping Kurapika) trying to earn enough money to try and buy a copy of Greed Island.  At the beginning of season 4, they figure that they can't afford it, so they decide to let someone else buy it, and then offer to play. Someone called Battera has bought up all the copies he can get his hands on.  He's hiring anyone who can use nen well to play the game and beat it, because the person who beats it can pick three cards to take into the real world, and he wants those cards.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nitpickery: Hunter X Hunter, Part 1

Hey y'all.  So I'm still going on my anime kick.  Things are looking up, actually.  I've found an anime that's actually pretty good.

So far.  Oh, and nitpickery is spoilers.  Real quick, the spoiler-free review.

Well, I really liked the first season.  It was fun, dramatic, and had a story that only got more intense. Hunter X Hunter is the story of Gon Freecss, a twelve year old boy who dreams of becoming a Hunter, just like his long lost father.  A hunter being someone who fights exotic monsters and discovers treasure.  The trouble with becoming a hunter is that you have to survive a death-defying series of difficult tests, assuming you even made it to the testing location in the first place.  Gon is joined by Kurapika, a "boy" trying to avenge the gruesome deaths of her people, and Leorio, a goofy guy intent on getting money.  They are later joined by Killua, a young boy trying to escape his assassin family and do what he wants with his life.

Hunter X Hunter starts out very well, with a happy, fun tone that promises good times.  However, after the first season, it starts having major tonal shifts every season, more or less becoming entirely different stories that happen to feature the same characters.  It can be entertaining, but it's also exhausting to keep up with all the randomness in the plot.  While this show has good characters and a great premise, its story is rather like being taken by the neck and shaken repeatedly.

Oh, and a quick note on the animation.  It's not as expensive as other anime, and some people found fit to severely criticize it, particularly for not being up to modern standards of action animes. However, the lower quality animation never bothered me at all.  If you're someone that cares, it might be a problem, but this anime looks perfectly fine.  I appreciate the lack of obvious CGI, like lots of modern animes have.  While I'm at it, the music is okay.  Nothing mind-blowing, but nothing bad. Except for a time or two where for some reason there's a piece of music that sounds like a phone getting a text.  Distracting.

Onward, into spoilers!