Diving Into Gravity Rush 2 – Pt.2

 

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Twelve hours in, I have a wrap up on how Gravity Rush 2 feels compared to its predecessor and if the new elements enhance the experience.

Gravity Rush 2 – Pt 2

Gamer’s Thoughts is a portal to articles I write for a website called Now Loading.

Cheers,

and game on.

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A Shiny Spoon – Setting the Scene

The dreaded phrase of many writers will and always will be, set the scene. I’m not sure where this fear comes from, but it’s a feral beast, one that haunts as they peer into the black and white abyss of a manuscript. The abyss only exists for the characters if they’re swimming in pages with no direction. Setting the scene gives your characters direction of what’s around them and in turn gives readers a vision of the world they inhabit.

The key is to enhance the world for your readers not distract them.

Fantasy writers, like myself, generally fall into the category of over setting – we like our colors, tastes, and minute details that half the time no one gives a shit about. I’ve been there, done it, lived it, and gotten flak for it as well as praise. My newest novel is faster paced and relentless at times, I didn’t want to get bogged down with setting the scene. Fast pace, short descriptions, and more stabby-stab sounded like a fantastic idea—except you lose direction.  So you make a compromise with yourself, stay within an invisible line of enough details to picture it in your mind, but not implode your head space with lists of dimensions and where every piece of furniture is in the room and its color and its shape compared to your main character’s childhood home.

Direction, make sure your readers can follow where your characters exist currently and where they are headed. Literal directions, for the most part, can be thrown out the window, not the window on my left side of where I’m typing this blog.

Examples:

  • “How courteous,” I said as I tossed the brush to my left on what passed as a desk.
  • “How courteous,” I said as I tossed the brush on what passed as a desk.

In this case, does the direction of where the desk is located to the main character matter to the story? The same conclusion happens, Rith is done using the brush so he discards it. It clutter frees your sentences and still conveys the same meaning.

Cutting directional words makes the most sense in your prose. I am a firm believer in directional words can be used in dialogue, sparingly, but are viewed as all right in my eyes. Most people give directions in their speech when going places, so don’t limit your characters verbiage to discard direction phrases. If my characters want to go to the near north, damn it, they will say it and mean it!

Little details, using the five senses, can enhance the imagination more than a string of scrutinized findings that only you might be able to picture. For instance:

—My room, a dark space of wood and subtle light like a ship’s hold, smelled of clean fish and coriander.

The above description cements a few things, smell, sight, and possibly taste. I used three (two depending if the sight of the word fish makes you hungry) out of the five senses in one not-to-long sentence. This one sentence gives a vision of the room without going into the dimensions, where the furniture resides or the color. I didn’t start off the chapter with this description, but it comes soon after to set the scene for the actions of my character. Later on, I add some sound:

—Light footsteps sent the squeaky floor boards into groan…

You now have four of the five senses, with a mere two sentences, not too shabby. Now the key is, not every place you visit or thing you see in your world needs to have a multitude of senses. Some senses can be implied:

—Sparrow and I followed Daz through the convocation of citizens who billowed with slurs of bargain and rants of indecisiveness.

The above sentence sounds like a crowded area, I don’t need the taste or the colors of what’s around to distract my readers. Right now, the focus is on the noise. Can I enhance the scene with some more detail? Yes, sprinkle it in and I’ve got a nice vision of the scene without taking away from what my characters are there to achieve. You’ll have to read the story to find out why they’re at the market—suspense!

Fantasy authors have a hard time because they have to build something entirely new, but even still readers are able to create their own vision of your world. And I’m guessing their vision is off skew from your own, it’s one of the many reasons why I love the medium, we all experience the same story with various flavors are mind finds fitting to the mood—make sure you can quench a reader’s thirst.

Non-fantasy writers have a have a hard job ahead of them as well. You have to make the mundane everyday occurrences seem intriguing. I wouldn’t know how to tackle such a style, I dread setting scenes as it is. Unless it’s some foreign structure or creature, it’s dull for me. Character descriptions…seldom feel rewarding even when characters are the essence of our stories, making unique ones, I still find it troubling to nail down those descriptors at times. But once you nail one down and they flow beautifully, rejoice for it is a difficult task. Ok, focus back to the setting.

Setting the scene is a give and take kind of relationship.

Please yourself with crafted prose for your readers to chew on, the pleasing kind of stuffing face, where it’s only the fluffy mash potatoes on the spoon, nothing else. Make sure it feels good going down the throat too, you need your readers be pleased and ready to move onto the next mouthful.

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The spoon is your foundation of the scene. It’s imperative to make it glisten with enough details to turn the reader’s head.

The Potatoes are the scrumptious acts your characters do in the world around them. You’re here to have your readers enjoy each bite. The only way to accomplish such a task is a sturdy and consistent spoon. Make the spoon shine, just don’t have your readers staring at it when they should be eating. Lack of sustenance is bad, it kills people, don’t kill people.

Until next time, write on.

Top 10 Games of 2016

 

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I am Setsuna missing since it’s digital only

 

2016 was a fabulous year in gaming. An array of experiences filled me with joy throughout the twelve months, some more than others. It was a good year for RPGs, FPSs, and stories to kick you in the feels. Click the link below to see how I ordered my games and would love to know which ones you found to satiate your appetite for gaming from yesteryear.

Top Ten Games

Gamer’s Thoughts is a portal to articles I write for a website called Now Loading.

That Pesky That

 

I’m in the depths of editing my fantasy novel a deep and dark place filled with moments of complete destitute findings and opposing frivolous joy.  Editing can be such an uplifting and rigid experience wrapped into one snowball to splat you in the face. At this point, I’ve read through the entirety of my manuscript once and was happy with the outcome my fingers placed upon the keyboards. But there was something off about it still. I couldn’t pinpoint what made me scrunch my brow at the words on the page until I watched a vlog about overused words.

I watched the video and cringed at the long list…I think there was 29, but one stood out like a wolf amongst sheep—that.

I use Scrivener (love it and would recommend to many writers, more to come later) and I typed ‘that’ into my search bar. Scrivner filtered through my novel and highlighted ‘that’ in yellow. My screen was drenched in yellows and ‘thats.’

I rejoiced for finding the source of my discomfort while I edited my novel the first go around, but I also banged my head against my desk for the multitude of hours to commence to make these sentences fit.

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That pesky ‘that’ made me work hard.

My manuscript was littered with them:

  • “I heard a cry that made my ears bleed.”
  • “Sparrow ran toward the strike so that she didn’t get impaled.”
  • “I couldn’t crane my head to see what had happened, that made everything worse.”

Most of the time I used the pesky word, it was toward the end of a sentence, I surmised it to how my brain thought out the actions or feelings of my characters. Once identified, I realized how it distracted me as a reader and a writer. Some of the sentences could easily be fixed by eliminating the word. For instance the second example:

  • “Sparrow ran toward the strike so that she didn’t get impaled.”
  • “Sparrow ran toward the strike so she didn’t get impaled.”

The other sentences would sound off if I tried this easy solution every time. I found sometimes switching ‘that’ to ‘it’ or ‘which’ helped to give variety to the sentences. For example the first sentence:

  • “I heard a cry that made my ears bleed.”
  • “I heard a cry, it made my ears bleed.”

The use of ‘that’ isn’t always a bad thing either. Sometimes it punctuates a sentence perfectly.

  • “Isn’t that the truth?”
  • “Rith you’re one of the smartest fellas I know, but even you must think that sounded idiotic.”

These two sentences convey ‘that’ in a different way as opposed to using it as more of a placeholder word. When it refers to a phrase or sentence another character had previously stated it flows. There is no hard rule for either option, but excess verbiage of any kind can distract the reader.

This was my first hurdle to overcome and I think I’ve found success while I perused my novel with the yellow highlights of my demise. Another read through complete and now I’m onto the next and one of my most dreaded, the out-loud read-through. This is where I’m sure I’ll find another set of phrases I use in excess, but it’s one of the best practices I’ve used, albeit the most time-consuming.

But that’s the thing about writing. Good things come when you invest time and let them marinate.

If I find any more pesky words in my next stage, I’ll be posting them on here. Until then, write on.

Nintendo Switch New Games – Multiplayer Perfection

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Launch games are important. Zelda is a nice fit, but what else is there? I found two games I’m excited about. Link to the article below. What games are you looking forward too and are you planning on getting a Nintendo Switch at launch?

Talk to you soon fellow gamers.

Nintendo Switch New Games – Multiplayer Perfection

Gamer’s Thoughts is a portal to articles I write for a website called Now Loading.

3 Images That Tell An Exciting Story About The Nintendo Switch

Tomorrow, we find out more about Nintendo’s new console. I wrote an article about the three things I’m most excited about from the Nintendo Switch’s debut trailer. I’m excited to get a further look at the new console.

Nintendo Switch Article

Gamer’s Thoughts is a portal to articles I write for a website called Now Loading.

Beyond the Idea

 

I’ve honed enough energy and fortitude to will my fingers into creating four novels. I’ve started three others and have numerous passages afloat in my head not yet set to keyboard or paper. All of this began with a singular idea which festered and grew.

Have any of these novels seen the light of day and gone to print—nope. The fourth one I finished in December finally feels like a winner. The trudge through the editing process has far less screaming hair-tearing moments than anything prior. But I wouldn’t be able to bask in this glorious stage of ‘hey this project that bled into months of my life isn’t total shit’ without an idea which tantalized me until it needed to pour out of me.

   If there is one facet of writing where people stumble, it’s the idea—this is utterly important.

I’m flattered when others take interest in my currently unpaid career of writing. Sometimes there is a genuine thrill in their eyes and I can’t help feel a little flutter in my stomach. But then there are the times of, ‘I have this idea.’

I love this part. If you’re willing to share an idea with me than I know there’s some sense of passion behind the thought. I straddle the line between passion and the need to write, but without an idea, none of it would come to fruition. Once I’m done listening to their pitch for an idea, I smile and say, “now go write.” Sometimes excuses ensue. Sometimes the curiosity billows in their eyes and I know they will write when they depart from my company. Sometimes they seek advice on where to begin. Each scenario I’ve seen, some more than others.

   Get beyond the idea for the world is filled with them.

If this idea gnaws at you with each passing day and you find yourself thinking through scenarios, get to writing. You’ll know when it’s ready, ideas need time to gestate, it’s how the good ones stay and the bad ones leave you all together.

Seeking advice should not be the antithesis of what I feel the a-want-to-be fledgling writer should aspire to. It shows dedication to the process and it shows vulnerability. It has taken me a long time to realize asking for help isn’t a sign of inability, but a sign of yearning growth. No one’s a master the first time they put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. Seek and then indulge. Your first manuscript will probably be muddled shit. If you think it’s golden it’s just fool’s gold glimmering in the eyes of accomplishment. But don’t dismay. You learn, you enhance the craft, you find a plethora of ways to scrutinize your work, and you become better. Congratulations you’re a writer. Cash or no cash you’re on the road to self-doubt and agonizing days of why the hell am I trying to do this—I promise it’s worth the weight of the tears.

If I leave you with anything, don’t be excuse dude or dudette. If you have an idea, go beyond it and begin your journey.  You can do it. Can you do it well—only one way to find out.

 

Death By Motivation

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Come take a gander at an editorial I wrote on the subject matter of death in games. How it’s done correctly or done uninspired, either way, it can be fantastic story hook.

Death By Motivation

Gamer’s Thoughts is a portal to articles I write for a website called Now Loading.