22 Jul 2021

Test Run - The Return of Bert Ernesto!

 A long time back, I was playing around with Margaret Weis Productions' Demon Hunters, based on the setting created by the Dead Gentlemen, who also provided details for the game itself.  As time progresses, as time tends to do, games evolve.  The most recent version, Demon Hunters - A Comedy of Terrors takes the lessons learned from the original and improves the game.  However, since this is about Bert Ernesto and not Lost in Translation, enough about the mechanics.  Time to create!

1 Jul 2021

Writing Inspirations from a Non-Writer

A couple of friends have already gone through who and what has influenced them in their writing.  Serdar Yagulalp and Steve Savage have listed what has influenced and inspired their work.  I'm going to add my two cents, which in Canadian, means nothing because we don't have pennies.

I've probably mentioned that I'm not a natural writer.  Everything linked in the side bar to the right and over at Lost in Translation isn't a mirage, but my approach might give writing teachers fits.  So, keeping with the format Serdar and Steve have, here goes!

Tabletop RPGs

  • Characters are more than just numbers on a page.  Most games include advice on how to create and play a character.  Games with specific settings give information that could influence a character.  Likewise, characters in a novel are more than just a description or a stereotype.  Archetypes are useful as a starting point to build on, not an end goal.
  • Characters live in their settings.  Seems obvious, but a character in a fantasy world where magic is wondrous will have a different take on their life from a character who lives on board a starship.  They may share outlooks, but they'll have different approaches to problem solving.

High School Geography

  • Geographic features don't pop out of nowhere.  This goes towards worldbuilding and why I could build a setting on the fly a few years ago.  It becomes easier to work out what the climate and vegetation is like once I know where the mountains are.
  • Cities aren't always designed.  Grade 10 Urban Geography has stuck with me.  Cities exist for a reason.  The older the city, the less likely there is to be a grid-pattern.  Streets are twisty.  A planned settlement has straight streets, except for suburbs.  This also goes towards worldbuilding, so if I need a village, town, or city, I can get the basics down quickly then fill out details like neighbourhoods and entertainment centres.
  • Water is life.  Back to worldbuilding again.  Settlements need water, for drinking, for growing food, for shipping and receiving products.  Water is also important while writing.  Getting up from the keyboard to get a drink of water does two things, it gives me a break and it keeps me hydrated.

Anime, Manga, and Comics

  • Drama drives the story.  I lumped the three together because they each provided different examples.  The series I enjoy tend not to be gimmicky but instead have inter-character conflict and awkward moments.  I can see the influence Marmalade Boy has on my works.

Lost in Translation

  • You can learn from mistakes; they don't have to be your own.  You might be wondering why I have something I'm writing is in the list.  Lost in Translation let me analyze works I'd normally not take a deeper look into.  Figuring out what when wrong means working out the mechanics of storytelling, what works, and what doesn't.  The earnest failures are the best to analyze; the different between talent and skill counts.
  • It doesn't hurt to try a work in a different medium.  Even if the result doesn't work, figuring out how what I'm working on can translate helps.  My writing approach tends to start from a visual, so already I have to translate the pictures and animation into words.  Why not work out what something would look like going the other way?  There's insight to be had.

The above list is probably not comprehensive.  I'm sure there are little things here and there that I've missed that are obvious to other.  But, these are the majors I can think of.  If you want to do something similar, drop a line with Steve Savage.  He wants to gather all these sorts of posts into one spot.

Friday, Lost in Translation continues at Psycho Drive-In.

Saturday, Lost in Translation can be found at The Seventh Sanctum.

Happy Canada Day!

This is a rough Canada Day.  Not from the pandemic, though that isn't helping.  The discovery of over a thousand graves at former residential schools can't be forgotten.  Children taken away from their culture and families who never got to return.  This is a dark stain on Canada.  It's long past time for reconciliation and restitution, for with out restitution, reconciliation is just hollow words.  Let this Canada Day be the day wounds can be healed, for we can be better.

Happy Canada Day.