Circa 1771

on writing

A long distance family emergency interrupted my writing last night, and the election disrupted it Tuesday.  Try as I might to ignore the results, I ultimately kept refreshing pages.  Botheration.

Will hopefully catch up tomorrow.  We shall see.  I have a 3000 word deficit, so if I write around 5000, I should be fine.

It's been an interesting experiment and I am enjoying coming home to write something or using every drop of my 30 minute lunch break to write.  Even if it's utter crap.  

WoW - Rowan

just sayin'

I am glad that profanity during public announcements at large team get-togethers is not a firing offense here, because otherwise I would have been fired around three times today.

In other news, I love my company.
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Circa 1771

a gentle plea from a dear reader re: fights and dancing

Writers, please stop referring to any combat (martial arts, duels, what have you) as "dancing".  

Combat is unpredictable, unrehearsed, and inexplicably influenced by everything from experience, to weaponry, to landscape, to a chance breeze or a flash of armor.  I don't care how well matched your opponents are, or how good they are, or what ninja brotherhood trained them.  If your fight is "like a dance", then it's BORING.  Because clearly the opponents are so evenly matched they're just going through the motions and not actually into the vital struggle for their lives/honor/glory.  

There is one time when it is acceptable to describe a martial act as "like a dance": when someone is practicing sword forms, taigi, kata, or the like.  These are essentially choreography.  But the moment you throw in someone else -- even if they know the exact same "choregraphy" -- that all goes to hell.  And even in the case of something that requires a partner like taigi, no one is ever the same as the next.  Steps get misplaced.  Timing gets nailed or missed.  Hands slip.  Armor flashes.

In summary: describing any fight as a "dancing" is lazy writing.  It makes me want to hunt you down and DANCE WITH YOU.
Circa 1771

regarding the readercon crap

I stopped going to s-f conventions a while ago. In part, behavior like this was a motivator.

I won't point fingers or name names. It was nearly twenty years ago. It's past. I will say that once you've been unexpectedly felt up, alone, in an elevator by a Big Name Filker, it kind of cools your desire to ever listen to his music again. It cools your desire to ever go to a convention again.

But like I's past. The only reason I remember it now is I read the ReaderCon thread and thought, "Oh. Right. That." And then realized that that reaction -- that blase acceptance that this just happens -- was kind of fucked up.

It wasn't the main reason I stopped going to conventions. It was just one reason of many that I decided this wasn't worth my time and energy any longer.
Circa 1771

scraps and bits

Hey, did you know planning your own wedding is hard? Well, it is!

Just writing scraps and bits lately. Basically I'll be in a meeting, and something will come into my head, and I'll write it down to keep it safe. Or I'll get on to the machine before bed and bang out about a thousand words, not really stopping to edit or critique it, and let the ghost vent itself.

I honestly need to come up with a stricter regimen, and yes, I know that. I have confidence it will come in time, but right now there are invitations I need to finish.
Circa 1771

dear young art student talking during Brian Moriarty's speech at GDC.... do not, in fact, know it all.

I know you think you do. I have been there. I know what's going through your head right now. You've read books. You've gone to lectures. You have spent long hours with your fellow artsy friends in coffee shops, or on forums, or at Burning Man thinking about these things.

I mean, really thinking about them, man.

It's great that you're burning daylight and brainpower on this. That you have sources to back up your claims. That you can cite them effortlessly. I actually think the professor would be happy to debate them with you (he is, after all, in academia -- that's what good academics do).

However, there's a right time to do that. And the right time is not immediately after he's stood in front of 500+ people for an hour distilling a year's worth of research for them. The right time is not when all of us just want to go up and thank him for, y'know, bringing us into the industry through awesome games like Wishbringer and Loom. It is certainly not a time to dress him down and tell him that his speech was a "disservice to the gaming community".

I am not saying your deep, deep thoughts aren't valid. If I'm sneering at them, it's only because I found your behavior discourteous, and that's my reaction to that kind of behavior.

Your words were emotionally charged. You were not critical -- you were just rude. But you are young, and hopefully, you will get better.

In the end, I noted that the professor gave you his card and encouraged you to contact him to discuss your opinions. That was quite gracious of him, and appropriate.

Here's a tip: next time you're in a room full of people wanting to hear Moriarty (not you) speak, here's what you do. Get out a pen and a pad of paper. Make a note where in the discussion you disagreed with him. Write down what you disagreed with, along with your counterpoint. Then, contact him and bring it up. Voila! You have managed to fulfill your need to engage in critical discussion without annoying the fuck out of everyone around you.

Is it less dramatic than ambushing him post-lecture? Yes. Is it more constructive? Hell yes. And if your intent really is to discuss this, that's what you should be going for. Otherwise, you're just another annoying jerk that needs an urgent appointment with Batman's fist.

So, in summary: my problem is not with the argument itself. My problem was with the way you went about it. I hope that when next you contact him, you offer up at least a brief apology, something to the effect that you were strung up on caffeine and three days of GDC and you couldn't control yourself. Then, and only then, do I think you should give him your serious analysis of his presentation.

But until you can get past your need to prove how smart you are, or to tell people when they are wrong (in your opinion -- and a lecture on art, the nature of art, and whether games are art is entirely opinion), I think you should know there was at least one person in the audience who found your way of going about things unacceptable.

Yours truly,
Circa 1771


My coworker thinks I'm an extrovert. I HAVE FOOLED THEM ALL.

I think John Scalzi sums it up well. I'm a closet introvert. At some point, I have to retreat to my den and regenerate my well of gregariousness.

As to why a closet introvert would ever want to be a producer? Well, that's just one of the many challenges I love in my life.
Circa 1771

pontificating on characters

The two main characters I've built for the Valdemar anthologies have miles of story in my head. But because I have a scant 6,000 words to tell a story, and because I am me, I want the stories I tell to be exciting! With plot! And a character telling you about his backstory can only be so interesting.

(Then again, I'm also a huge "This American Life" fangirl, and I think sometimes that a "This Valdemarian Life" one-shot story could be fun. Maybe after Lelia and Wil have run their course.)

Collapse )

I don't know what, if any, of this will make it through into the story, but I heard "I See a Darkness" by Bonnie "Prince" Billy and it seemed right. That's the song. I will be sick of it by the time this story is over, but I know it'll bring me through to the other side.

When this one is over, I know what I'm writing next. I don't know the music, yet, but it'll find me. And I also know Mike and I will be writing something together. It's 2011. I have a wedding, a honeymoon, and who knows what else coming. Let us hope it's all good.
WoW - Rowan

three games, one year

So, 2010 is the year I got to have three games I worked on released. I guess after ten years I was overdue, eh?

My name's under "Platform Technology" for two Blizzard titles, and though I couldn't find a credits page for Fantasy University, I know my work's in there, mostly in the earlier content (i.e., what I'd finished before I left).

What didn't survive? Quests, mainly. When I left the "voice" of the game was still in the formative stage, so I expected they'd be revised or ditched completely. (And for the record, "Mad Willy Jack" is far more awesome as a tutorial NPC than "Captain Arr" ever was.)

But many of the starting creatures, NPCs, and some of the lower level, non-"Hero Shop" items and drops are my writing. The rough area stubs I came up with for the Game Design Doc also still seem to be intact, a la "Hey, you know what would be funny? A zombie town named Pleasanton!" or "I think we should work Maynard James Keenan into the game. SOMEHOW."

(I'm actually really happy with that last one. A great deal of DragonRealms was coded while listening to Ænima, and I feel like I owe Tool a debt for keeping my sanity intact while creating Bards. Whoever did the art (I'm suspecting Tracy Butler, but it could have been Candy Janney) did a great job.)

Very weird to be speaking about my partial contributions to gaming, but that's life for you. Game studios are iterative environments by nature. We build. We play. We learn. We refine. All of those steps are important. Empathy for the player is what leads to greatness.

So much of the humor of F.U. was collaborative that it's at times impossible to say what was my idea, what was someone else throwing something out to the crowd. That's how it was: all of us throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what would stick. Then the artists spinning it into gold. Pure magic, when you nail it right.

And speaking of life: I need to figure out what story Wil (not Wheaton) wants to tell. Preferably before the story deadline is up. C'mon, Herald! Hurry it up!
Super rad!

on awesomeness

Which is Lynn Viehl.

Whose books kept me company when I had no wedding or hope of anyone in my life.

Who congratulated me on my upcoming wedding after I won one of her ARC giveaways.

And who just sent me not only an ARC of her latest book (Frostfire, which has an amazing cover I was instantly lusting after), but my first wedding gift.

Thank you, Lynn. You were awesome enough to begin with, but now you kicked the awesome over the goal line into epicville.