Monday, August 21, 2006


Link to the Original Story: NPC- JED

It is HARD to write an action sequence. That's what I learned from this story. Damn hard. Sure it doesn't seem that tricky, I mean, hundreds, if not thousands, of untalented Hollywood hacks do it every day. And yet...tricky. You spend too much time on the action and you end up overloading it with hyperbole. Bang! Pow! Zowie! Sounds positively Bat-tastic.

On the other hand, if you try to make it splendiferously dark you end up sounding like a cross between Ernest Hemingway and Steven Seagal. "I would drink to his memory. Drink blood. In the rain."

Neither of these is, how you say, "good." But walking the middle line is tricky. Chalk that up to lessons learned about writing. Horror and action are harder than you'd think, while drama is much, much easier than you'd think.

Other than that, well, it's a fun little story with loads and loads of geekiness. I wish I could pretend it's geek chic, but no, just plain geek.

On second glance, I think it's also awfully wordy.

I like how JED (both of us, maybe) took this opportunity to write basically some AD&D fanfic. I don’t mean that in the ordinary, insulting way I would use the term “fanfic,” though. (Excuse me for a moment while I climb onto my soapbox). At the risk of exposing the true unwholesome depths to which my geekery extends, AD&D is one of, if not the, most amazing and creative worlds ever imagined, in no small part, I think, because it wasn’t created by a single person, but fleshed out by tons of creative minds over the years. Now frankly, I don’t love where they’ve gone with it lately, but if we were to put AD&D fanfic into the same category as Buffy fanfic or something, we would be doing the fantasy community an enormous disservice. The other notable difference is that AD&D is designed for people to create their own stories in its setting. It’s whole purpose in being is to be a backdrop for individual creativity. And Planescape, the setting where this story seems like it would be right at home, is seriously about the most creative fantasy world that has ever been, Tolkien be damned (no disrespect, of course).

Okay, now to the actual story: I like it. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s well-done, it’s got that same “gives you something to think about but not-all-that-deep” thing JED was talking about in reference to my story; overall, it’s a great little fantasy story. Nothing really ground-breaking here, but why does there always have to be? If all writing had to break new ground to be good, there wouldn’t be much ground left to walk on. Or something.


Link to Original Story: NPC - JP

This pitch spoke so perfectly to the setting in my video game pitch that I couldn’t resist. I had invented a number of NPC’s who got only name mention, and I’d said I wanted to flesh them out, so here was the opportunity. Kokyangwuti appealed to me because I felt like she was one of the least exciting of the NPC’s, and easily blown off and forgotten (Jason said he actually remembered her, though). I like the idea of this minor character, who really does occupy a minor role in the main story, reflecting some kind of deep universal truth that supercedes everything the player (I still think of it as a game) has been lead to believe about the nature of the story’s universe. Thus, the player is left with the barest of hints, through the unlikeliest of sources, that there is far more to this world than meets the eye.

So this one is based on JP's "Video Game Plot." It's dark, it's nasty, it's fantastical. It's over the top and under the bottom, and I like it. It's what I think of as a "shallow in the deep end" type story. Which is to say, it makes you think, but not too much, and the themes are fairly obvious. But it's a good bit of wicked fun. Plus the bad get their comeupance from the even badder, so its got a well-framed little moral there too. Little fish, big fish - no free lunch.

One thing he does a bit differently here, is to spend a lot of time on description and less on dialogue. And the descriptions pop. Vivid, easy to see, fun to read. It's not his usual modus operandi, but he pulls it off with aplomb.

I'd honestly love to see him do a story like this for every single NPC in his "video game plot" storyline. The characters are creative interpretations of old standbys, and the way that JP presents them is both entertaining and engrossing.