Last weekend I was doing interesting things with lots of people. This weekend I am in my flat doing laundry. Boo.
At Redemption I tried to do creative interactive type stuff, so I did a creativity workshop where we invented a TV show, and a flash fiction thing where we wrote a story in ten minutes and then read it out.
I think that flash fiction bit is the most fiction words I've done in years.
And really I should stop being depressed about that and just do some writing. Last weekend proved I can in fact just sit down, take three words of prompt, and make a thing that vaguely makes sense. I should just keep doing that.
And I challenged myself to write 1000 words a day every day this year, so writing fiction would be like I set out to do. ... what actually happens is I complain for a thousand words, which isn't as helpful as I'd intended.
I didn't go to the bit about writing Fighting Fantasy books, I prioritised something else (making the costume pretty), but I'm kind of sad about that. In the guest talk later he made it sound pretty cool. You get a precise number of scenes, and each of them has to be at least a bit interesting, which obviously every scene you bother writing should be anyway. It sounds like writing with cogs in, sort of thing, like scaffolding and it has to end up all working together. There was a bit about using hubs in game design that I made enough notes on to look up later. I hadn't even known that there were so many Fighting Fantasy books, when they stopped being in the local bookshop I stopped looking for them, but there's bazillions, and now they're apps as well. It's pretty cool. Though I like the Lone Wolf books better because you have an arc plot and recurring characters and you can gain skills and stuff.
When I play with RPG rules I mostly just fiddle about inventing a city or poking the magic rules or something, but making up a whole Fighting Fantasy style adventure sounds like fun. Or like at least triple the work? One of those.
... mostly I want to go play my FF books again. And maybe get more.
So that was a successful guest talk, from his point of view. though I didn't buy any of his books because I'm trying not to spend money because Plan.
I was thinking with the Lone Wolf books then the skills you choose at the start change which path you take through the book. Like, some of them are more aggressive and some of them can warn you about fights before you get into them. There's the sneaky way and the fighty way. And mostly you have to make friends with the right people and not accidentally kill innocents. And then there are consequences.
... and, last time I played through, one big boss fight that's purely impossible, but I suspect my maths slipped at some point, I don't know.
To do the Lone Wolf thing you usually needed a good balance of skills, because you'd need to do a little of everything at some point, but you could also make a book where there's the fight track and the sneaky one and the befriend everyone version. But then people would wander around choosing things so probably they'd end up mixing them all up.
There's people who've thought of these things properly. I should go do the reading.
I don't know why I'm so utterly unmotivated to do writing. ... er, no, actually, I do know, it's called depression, but that's a really annoying answer. But anything that leaves me unmotivated to, say, get out of bed in the morning, is probably doing a number on my motivation to write.
Guest talk dude whose name I've forgotten (oops) was asked by someone in the audience how to stick with writing, because audience guy always stalled after like 15K words. Guest dude said he was already writing novellas. I liked that answer, that was like, you're not a rubbish marathon writer, you're great at the 800m. But then you'd have to get a whole structure in and not just write a whole lot of beginning. Beginning is fun because you just throw things at things and make a bunch of plot threads. Middles mean you have to start weaving them together into interesting patterns, and ends have to actually make sense. If you're stuck writing only beginnings, is maybe not the same as writing whole novellas. Structure and craft is key.
I've got a file around here about the act structure for I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's pretty much a time limited version of the usual: First introduce people and their problem, then throw complications at them, then someone wins. Maybe have a cup of tea and have feelings about it for a couple pages at the end.
Fixed forms are easier to see how they work though. Got lots of engines and pushing bits. Like, commercials TV has to have something awesome happen before the commercials and be resolved after them, so it's got all these little extra pushes to keep the story moving. BBC shows can kind of flop around in the middle more because no ad breaks.
I need to pick a scaffolding, choose some characters, see what I could do to them.
There were notes in the creativity workshop that were handy too. Like, any set of characters work well for the show if and only if they will respond differently to any given situation. We pulled apart Red Dwarf for examples, and Piers B said about how Atlantis had to rejig it's main characters because it had two fighty ones so it turned them into a fighter and a diplomat, mostly by redistributing Teyla's character traits. If you're doing an RPG party you want your characters to each have a speciality, and that'll go some way towards giving them all a unique set of responses. D&D alignments will do the same thing, but you end up wondering why these people are even together. On Red Dwarf there was also a thing about attitudes to the rules, like Kryten is all rules and has to learn not-rules, Rimmer thinks the rules are essential but doesn't understand them, Lister is no fan of rules but can bend them to his will, and Cat is just, like, what rules? So they'll always do differently. That's not as flat as an Order/Chaos alignment but it's related.
It's a bit of a problem though when you've got the fighter and the diplomat, because the show tends to pick a side. Like, SG1 is not about Daniel making friends and learning about new cultures, Daniel tends to be instead the one who gets everyone else into trouble by attempting to make friends with the new culture. It's not even a scientist show, for all there is shiny, because it's made up shiny and the show would be pulling it's solutions from thin air every week. Boring. MacGyver attempts to use real scientific principles and do things that would in fact work, so it's a science show kinda, but then so far he's mostly improvising explosives from household items and/or figuring out new ways to trip people up and drop things on them. Which I still like better than guns, but somehow isn't what I was dreaming of given the pilot episode. So it's another kabooms action show. But something like... I want to say Ghost Whisperer but haven't seen it for a long long time... there are shows where the point is to make friends and resolve someone's problem every week. It can be done. And a fighter character on those shows? Would be the problem.
hmmm, that's a problem for the characters and for fans of the character who ends up hard done by, that's not actually a problem for the drama. If the characters stick by their role they continue to make trouble for the party which will then be solved in their unique styles.
See I tend to do... not exactly fanfic, but something that starts with my favourite personal versions of canon characters, puts them together and stirs until the serial numbers wear off. But my favourites do tend to have a theme. If I put them all together, am I going to get a balanced party?
Often my favourite slash pairings have built in conflicts. ... Magneto and Professor X spring to mind, obviously, or Giles and Ethan. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers too. They just have different world views, different approaches to every problem, different ideas of what the problem even is. So just the pair of them can drive a whole lot of different stories. A pairing like Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, while I can see them in canon getting along great, don't have the same pushing in opposite directions problem, except for that brief angsty time with the Winter Soldier. Everything else has Bucky just backing Steve up, come what may, which is clearly a great partner but not a very dramatic story.
But then I read a lot of Clint/Coulson and it's not like they're on opposite sides. Different approaches, sure, but after the recruitment stories... which I read like candy... very much same sides pointing the same direction. So, I like different things at different times. That's... that's going to help with writing, I'm sure.
Anyways, structure, characters that each respond different, and then a story engine, something that happens to kick things off. In a TV show, the thing that happens every week. What brings the story to you? And what successfully resolves it?
I should totally be able to do that.
... aaaaany day now...