Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Love in Space ME3 Style

So I know I'm late to the game, but I am finally playing Mass Effect 3. Finally.

Actually if I'm being honest I've had the game for a while (as in when it came out) and I played it once before but I didn't get very far. I also took a passing stab at ME1 and gave up on it fairly quickly because I wasn't quite sure what to make of a FPS RPG and so despite the reviews I gave it a pass to indulge in other Bioware titles. One of the notable ones I really enjoyed was Dragon Age: Origins, even though I was unable to see it through to the end.

But I'm playing it through and I'm enjoying the story. It also happens that recently the question was raised about the relevance of in game romance and story telling.

And this takes us back to the nature of stories, video games, and the stories we tell. I know for me, part of my writing muse has been to work on the tapestry of a good game and adding my own stories to the characters there.

So, ME3 and the nature of romance....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/23/13

Ahh, Midwinter Break... a week of "working" which really translated to playing with the 5-year old, playing through Mass Effect 3 (I'm still getting the hang of the combat system) and poking at my writing.

Not the most productive week I've ever had but a good week over all.

On Mind the Thorns:

I'm halfway through the next chapter.  This one is proving a bit harder to write than I'd like mostly because I also see that it's time to start to move towards some resolutions of the story.  No new updates this week but expect one soon.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

This week saw the first posting of a video diary for Bastion, specifically the personal log of Emma Morgan, Mr. Max Ryan's personal assistant.  It was one of the most exciting things to do with this project and I'm very excited by the way it turned out.  I'm looking forward to doing more of these to support the story.

On Fictional Omens

One of the challenges of writing is to keep the language evenly balanced for what you want to accomplish:  Being true to your source material as well as being readable to your audience.  Some people (Meyers) do little to no research at all and thus have wildly inaccurate facts in their writing while others go to such an extreme (Clancy, Crichten) that you almost learn more about the subjects than you do about the plot.  This week I take a look at that on a smaller scale.

At home:

This weekend is the birthday of my beloved so it's out for free birthday dinners, enjoying family time and maybe sneaking out to do some sledding.  I've been putting more time into Mass Effect 3 and the game is growing on me.  I love the story, I love characters, but I'm still getting the hang of the combat system.  It's just a little too soupy compared to a dedicated shooter to really be fun for me after all my hours on Call of Duty.

And.... your weekly video:

I am absolutely cheating and this week's video is the video diary of Emma Morgan, one of the characters in Bastion: The Last Hope.  Yes, I'm using my own blog to post chapters of my web novel.  Sue me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Clip vs Mag

Some time ago I had the chance to get some first hand experience with firing a hand gun, the point of which was to have the experience to more accurately write the scene in Mind the Thorns where Regan defends herself from a band of hunters. It was a good experience and I think that it enriched my story telling.

For Bastion I have been networking with a mix of "experts" to get things right in the particulars given that all of my characters have such wide ranging backgrounds. But this also creates its own dilemmas.

Specifically, what do you use to load a gun? A clip or a magazine?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/16/13

Valentines week, a week to celebrate your loves or curse your loneliness  depending on where you sit on the spectrum of romance.  I'm fortunate in that I have love to celebrate but I do remember the dark times that came before and I offer sympathetic thoughts.

Here's what's been going on around these parts, for those not too busy staring longingly into their lover's eyes:

On Mind the Thorns:

The choice has been made that Regan will keep quiet and bide her time to strike back.  But who can she call to help her?  Emma?  Thomas?  Daryl?  It's been a long time since we've seen Daryl.  Is he still under contract with us?

On Bastion: The Last Hope

We are introduced to Max Ryan, an agent of the mysterious Project Bastion.  We see a glimpse of this organization as it monitors the end of days.  What is their role in all this?  What will they do as the meteors continue to fall?  Will they do anything?

On Fictional Omens

I responded to a critique that I was not passionate about the plight of Regan in Mind the Thorns.  Being fair, I have lost some of my oompht for writing it which has been a mix of work, family, time management, and other projects.  I take a few moments in this week's post to reflect on what kind of woman Regan has evolved into.  Is she as much like Bella as I fear?

At home:

Xander is up with his grandparents for the weekend leaving the wife and I alone with the baby.  So far we've done some cleaning, a little shopping and just enjoyed each other's company.  Our prayers go out to a friend who's going through a rough time herself and we wish her well if she should read this.

And.... your weekly video:

This week's video is an homage and a hug to my beloved wife who has, though simply being mindful of food intake and personal will power, dropped 4 dress sizes in the last 4 months.  Nothing like a little flash-mob cooking to remind us we could all eat a little healthier.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Passion for the Passionless or Regan becomes Bella Swan

I got an interesting email last week while working on the latest update for Mind the Thorns.  To paraprhase my Beta reader who sent the email:

"Is this girl ever going to grow a Superbowling* back bone?  Seriously!"

And that's when I realized that when I set out to write a "Better Twilight" but also with the twist of it being a Reader-Directed novel, I ran the real risk of it turning into "just another Twilight".  Only rather than Meyer-pires, it is populated with Oster-pires, and rather than being about a teenage angst ridden girl, it's a middle-aged, still somewhat angst ridden woman.

Here's a little backstory on the creation:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/9/13

Well, here we are another week down. You would think, dear reader, that with a snow day on Friday that this weekly wrap up would have gone up on time then. But no, I took the day off to relax with the kids, look out at the piles of snow in the yard and just enjoy the day away from the computer, mostly.

It is a little odd in that the last three weeks of school, we have yet to have a full week anywhere. The first was cut short by Martin Luther King day, the next by and ice day, and this past with a snow day. What next? Locusts day?

Over in Mind the Thorns:

There is a new chapter up! Finally some direction for Reagan as she learns a little more about the Earl, Jeremiah, Vampire politics and herself. Head over there and cast your vote for how she will get through her current predicament.

In Bastion: the Last Hope:

This week's update features a radio broadcast from a day into the mysterious meteor strikes and a little insight into their origin. As with any multimedia chapter your feedback is very appreciated.

At Fictional Omens:

I love commercials and their unrepentant need to convince us to consume. This week I featured some of my favorites from Super Bowl Sunday.

And lastly a video. Today was my son's first trip sledding. Remember kids- red makes it go faster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

There was a game?

So Sunday I had planned to grade papers and watch the Superbowl.  As luck would have it, I was invited to my sister's for the evening and we watched most of the game there.  Of course, the Lions did not even make the playoffs, and the two teams that provided workhorses for my fantasy team were also out (the Patriots and the Redskins) so I was left really with no one too root for.

Except the commercials.

Here are my picks for the best commercials that I was able to catch:

Hungry Howies - Best Commercial if its True

Toyota - Best Twist in a Commercial

Jeep/ USO Best Commercial to Make You Cry

Friday, February 1, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/1/13

Well, the week started off slow, picked up speed sickly fast, and then cruised into another weekend.  Not a bad time, though a bit tiring on its own.  I'm finding it harder and harder to listen to NPR without getting annoyed that they keep covering the same things over and over, and I don't agree with half the spin they put on the things they do cover.

I also had a chance to actually have a fairly real conversation with a family member about race and ethnicity and that was one of my week's highlights.  Of course this weekend I have 130 quizzes to grade, and three chapters to write (two for Bastion and one for Mind the Thorns) if I want to keep on my current schedules.

So... on to the wrap up:

On Bastion: The Final Hope

We get an insight into what kind of progress mankind is making at countering the "Cloud of Death" spread over the land by the meteor shower.  Look this coming week for a multimedia piece as the next installment.  I should probably figure out what that will be....

On Mind the Thorns

I continue to suck and owe everyone another chapter.  I need to do that this weekend if for no other reason than to stop having say every week that I suck.

On Fictional Omens:

I reposted something from last summer about the way in which self-publishing may have contributed to the demise of Foyt and her racist scifi novel Save the Pearls.  I dug it out of the archives because it appears there is a sequel to this travesty coming and she's looking for reviewers to pre-read it.  I can only imagine how much she's learned about sensitive topics since her last foray.

I should also note that my own frustration with lack of notice by the larger writing world is starting to build given that I've yet to really do anything too stupid and thus have been rewarded with heaping piles of obscurity as thanks.

And now a musical interlude: