I’ve been a successful participant in National Novel Writing Month three out of the past eight years. One thing each of those years had in common was a panicked realization that I hadn’t written or produced anything of value for most of that previous year. All it takes, really, is an aggressive and firm deadline and a well-defined deliverable.

But fiction isn’t what I want to do right now. Hasn’t been for a while. Also, since when did any NaNo project turn out a quality result?

What I want to do, and what I haven’t been doing, is making games. Unfortunately, building up a “promising” playable prototype hasn’t been sufficient to hold my interest when there are so many other fun things going on.

I moved into a new apartment three months ago and my whiteboards have barely changed at all since then. My printer is still sitting in my bedroom closet. My paper cutter is languishing desperately in a drawer with my notebooks, index cards, and other prototyping supplies. To be fair, my mother died about six weeks ago. And the weeks leading up to her passing were quite full.

But, every time I look at any of this stuff - this game-making stuff - I feel depressed. Like I’ve been neglecting a friend. Not just any friend, either, but a life-long friend who has always been there when things are bad or good, and now I’m realizing that I’ve been taking that friend for granted and wondering how I would feel if our roles were reversed. Anthropomorphizing a hobby? Maybe. But the feeling is real, and I have a real need to turn it around.

So what, now? A publicly-stated commitment. No more sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike at an opportune time.

This month, I will finish a game. It will be published and you will be able to buy it (probably at The Game Crafter). Yes, in a month. 

On or before November 30, I will take the last step before self-publishing: ordering myself a production copy of my game to review before release. I’ll share my progress here. There will be pics.

I hope you enjoy it even more than I do.

"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really.

"How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty.

And yet it all seems limitless..."

- Paul Bowles

reading

You buy them books, and what do they do? They eat the paper!

listening

Forget about your seat -- it's the beat.

viewing

Television will make you dumb. C'mon and get stupid!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Genre Fiction Writing Challenge Card Game

Writers of all kinds and varieties love anything that makes the writing process easier or more straightforward.  This is particularly true when Stress and Life make it difficult to keep thoughts organized and maintain focus.  Going through such a period myself, lately, I kind of just sort of made up this thing:  a card game that “randomly” generates a genre fiction writing exercise.  And I’ll share it with you, because hey, maybe I’m not the only person out there with this particular idea of fun!

I have been under a considerable degree of stress lately, Internet.  Most of it is good: new (better) job, new romantic relationship about which I am intensely enthusiastic.  Some of it is bad: had to acknowledge my flaky nature and take a major step back from a collaborative project that I’ve poured some soul into, missing my old co-workers, and other things. 

Anyway, I’m not trying to get all “my so-called personal life” on you guys.  It should suffice to say that I haven’t focused on making time for the original intended purpose of helo frend:  cheesy genre fiction and fucking loud-ass techno music! 

However…

My brain is a massive jumble of what-the-fuck these days.  I can’t write anything decent for the life of me.  When I do find any amount of free time and mental focus in the same place, my muse (or whatever the hell you want to call it) is sleeping, and I can come up with nothing to put to paper.  I have a huge mix of ideas and thoughts rolling around up there, but no matter how many noodles I throw at the fridge, not one wants to stick.  Ever.

Ah, but I am not an artist!

I’m no artist, so why the fuck should I have to sit around waiting for inspiration to strike?  Writing is a craft, right?  What do craftspeople have?

Tools!

What I really need is some better mental organization—an Ikea-quality shelving solution for my dome, in a manner of speaking.  Plastic bins and shit.  Shoe trees.  Baskets that go in closets.  Know what I mean?

So in something of a hurry, I put together this thing.

more...

posted on 09/14 • (15729) commentspermalink

Friday, July 09, 2010

Short Story: The Wait

Vivian Anschauen spends an entirely enormous amount of her life waiting.  Waiting for people.  Waiting for things.  Waiting to see.  If our body parts were sized proportionally to the time we spend on various activities, and if our left big toes represented time we spend waiting, then Vivian’s left big toe would be down the street, around the corner, and out of sight. 

Waiting for news, waiting for orders.

In fact, Vivian sits in a waiting room right now.  This particular waiting room is at a hospital emergency facility on Signus II, a water world orbiting a very distant, very hot sun.  Signus II waits, also.  Waits for its moons to create tides.  Waits to inch closer to its star as its elliptical orbit contracts, then farther away as it recedes.  And, ultimately, the planet is waiting to die.  The sun will cool, swell into a giant, and envelope it.  One day, that star will eat this planet whole.

Meanwhile, the planet waits, and Vivian waits along with it.  She is happy.  This is peaceful.

more...

posted on 07/09 • fiction • (2264) commentspermalink

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Guess I’m a Game Designer Now (Just Not Much of One Yet)

About seven or eight months ago, a developer I work with at my day job named Doug approached me and asked if I’d be interested in doing some content writing for a browser-based game he’s working on.  He had seen some science fiction I wrote and thought it was fine stuff, so I was like, “Hell yeah, let’s do the thing.  I’ve always wanted to write for a game.”

Sound like something you’ve heard before?  Here are some True Facts:

  • Talk to one hundred people about video games, and you will come away with at least as many ideas for a new game.
  • All of these ideas will probably suck, but that doesn’t matter—when you have an idea for a video game, you are always convinced of its excellence…
  • ...especially if you consider yourself to be a writer of any caliber whatsoever.
  • Creating a game bears very, very little resemblance to writing a story.

The project is ambitious—a massively multiplayer, browser-based game about building and managing civilizations that span multiple star systems.  And it’s close to our hearts.  We are, in a manner of speaking, trying to build a game we have always looked for but never found.  Or, when we did find it, it fell far short of our expectations.  We are those idealists seeking to fill a perceived, shared void through creativity and creation, and so far that is a good thing—as far as I know, it’s how Stuff gets Done.

more...

posted on 06/23 • (64061) commentspermalink

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Short Story: Abram and Isa

Before Isa was even born, Abram—like all fathers, probably—began often to wonder what he would be like when he grew up.  His mind tended to gloss over the early developmental years of his son’s life, skipping infancy and toddler-hood and getting right into the formative years of childhood.  Not that those years weren’t important.  They just didn’t interest his imagination. 

He knew that his baby boy would spend a lot of time in a nursery, that he would make strange sounds, that eventually his babbling would become attempts at sentences, that he would teeter around on unsteady legs.  He knew that his infant son would need attention and affection and all the things a baby needs.  But his role in that time, he knew, was at a much lower level.  Even then, his child yet unborn, Abram felt a visceral, biological imperative to care for and protect what he felt deeply to be a part of himself.  Baby needs, baby needs.

But that’s just a baby.  At a high level (he remembers these thoughts with some embarrassment), Abram sometimes regarded his own child as a lump of mewling flesh that ate, shit, cried, and did little else.  This was an “it,” not a “he,” not Isa.  He remembers resentment that on occasion overpowered his love even though his own essential need to care for his child would never wane.

When Isa began to talk, though, and learn to read and to interact with the world, what would he be like?  This is what Abram wanted to know.  Would his son be a smart child or a dim one, Abram wondered.  Would he be kind?  Cruel?

Abram—like most fathers, probably—came to find out.

more...

posted on 03/31 • fiction • (9157) commentspermalink

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Short Story: Seihr Sketch

This is a “character sketch” of an NPC faction in a game I’m currently designing.  Since I’ve been doing quite a lot of game design lately, and I’m still embroiled in an ongoing home improvement project as well, I haven’t had much free time to either write or explore new music.  This sketch turned out fairly well, though, and it holds up under “five elements of fiction” style scrutiny, so…what the hell!  Here it is, please enjoy.

* * * * *

  It was a day like any other when Jurgi was called to the council chamber, the moons of Sirius IV hanging over the horizon, watchful as ever while he rode the lift to the airborne Seihr Sky Temple.  Jurgi was young, especially as Seihr go, only having served for a half dozen years, and council summons still made him nervous.  A downward-traveling lift zipped past, the figure inside wearing a cloak like Jurgi’s, another low-ranking Seihr dispatched on an errand.  Jurgi wondered what kind of mission he was about to be sent out on.  The lift darkened for a moment before breaking through the clouds, and Jurgi took a deep breath and let the bright, blue sun of his home world warm him before arriving at the temple.

more...

posted on 02/16 • fiction • (62556) commentspermalink

Monday, August 17, 2009

DJ Set: All Dogs Go to Taco Hut

After much procrastination, I finally sorted out some issues vis-a-vis various pieces of software and got a new mix recorded last night.  It’s not what I had originally planned, and it gets off to a shaky start, but there are some pretty dope cuts on this and I think you’ll like it. 

The track list I originally planned got trampled on by a couple of small dogs.  True story.  I was keeping the volume a little lower than usual out of courtesy to my neighbors (the hour, she was late), and our two terrier chihuahuas were feeling anxious.  Every time they ran into or out of the room, the tags on their collars jingled, I lost be ability to hear the hi-hats and handclaps in the music, and the beat matching went right out the window. 

After two false starts, I just scrapped my playlist and threw this together to give my frustration level a more appropriate soundtrack.  Download the mixed set here, then go get the individual tracks you like below.

track list

  • Boys Noize - Jeffer (download)
  • Alex Gopher - Handguns (Dada Life remix) (download)
  • The Kills - Cheap and Cheerful (SebastiAn remix) (download)
  • Bloc Party - Signs (Armand van Helden remix) (totally fucking ill-ass video mbNSFW)
  • Empire of the Sun - We Are The People (The Golden Filter remix) (download)
  • Simian Mobile Disco - 3 Pin Dip (download)
  • The Sisters of Transistors - The Don (Acid Girls Grey Disco remix) (download)
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (Johnny Roxx remixx) (download)
  • Das Racist - Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (download)

.:Download All Dogs Go to Taco Hut:.

posted on 08/17 • music • (5545) commentspermalink

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