Monday, April 30, 2012

On superhero storyline reboots

There's something that the comic book industry has that isn't really prevalent anywhere. And no, I'm not talking about the superheroes. Comics books aren't afraid to break continuity and start over. Which I find pretty interesting.

You don't even have to read comic books to know what I'm talking about, just see Batman. Remember all the silly movies from the nineties and how Christopher Nolan took that material and made it dark and gritty for the newer movies? Better yet, did you know that there are plans for yet another Batman reboot in the future? And what about the new Spiderman that's coming out this summer? Or the two different Hulk movies?

And that's only the movies. If you start looking into the cartoon franchises and the source material itself, you'll notice that this is a trend. Comic books are all about rebooting the same characters and the same ideas, but giving them twists.

Which is fun, in a different sort of way. If you had a history with comics and watched the first season of Young Justice, you knew everyone's darkest secrets before they became an issue. You understood why certain characters were paired off and you knew what the future held for some of them. But that anticipation wasn't bad--it was awesome because not everything was the same.

Now, the reasons these reboots exist is for money. The idea is to keep an interested audience without losing what got them interested in the first place. But I guess what I'm wondering is, why don't we ever see this outside of comic book stories? I'm sure that everyone would jump on an alternate universe re-telling of Harry Potter. So why don't writers or filmmakers or video game producers reboot their stories? The profit is there, there are talented writers who would love to play with previous franchises, and the possibilities are infinite.

So what do you guys think? Would you love to see a reboot of your favorite book or tv show, or is that what fanfiction is for? Would you be willing to take your characters from your own writing and create new stories for them? And what about superheroes--why do these reboots work for them, but not anyone else? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Things I write with

I talk about the software and computer-based goodies I use to write quite often. *cough*ALL THE TIME*cough* So I figured it was time to address some of the physical things.

  1. The steampunk headphones
    Music plays a HUGE part in making my brain happy while writing. I struggle without it. And as a person who used to be a big fan of earbuds (so small, so portable!), let me tell you, these monster headphones changed my life. Let me tell you why:
    • Earbuds hurt after a while--big happy headphones do not
    • The sound quality is like singing angels
    • People are theoretically less likely to talk to you if you look irritated about having to take the large headphones off to hear them speak
    • On a similar note, putting them on is a little like blocking out the world and all of its delightful distractions
    • Holy crap are these things are so comfortable they deserve two bullet points 
    • If you're like me, the headphones become something of a tradition--wearing them means it's time to get writing
    • Did I mention the steampunk aesthetic?

  2. Smiley face computer
    I don't know about you guys, but I find it incredibly difficult to write with paper. Seriously. I think faster than I write, so writing by hand always turns into an exercise of frustration. On the other hand, I'm a super fast typer (we're talking like 70+ WPM people). Also, Scrivener can have my babies.

  3. Notebook
    I know, I know. I just said that I don't like to write by hand, which is totally true. Then why do I need a notebook? When I get particularly stuck (and I'm talking REALLY, REALLY stuck), I like to brainstorm/free write by hand. There's just something about getting all of my messy ideas down by hand that actualizes them.

  4. Crappy pen
    This is an important one. I love crappy BIC pens. They don't bleed through the pages, they's about the cheapest writing implement you can find, and despite everyone's whining, the ink flow is actually pretty decent. Also, if I lose my pen, there's no writerly drama about my perfect pen.

Okay, so most of that was pretty clean cut. I'm lacking the highlighters and the colored pens and the post-it notes and all of that good stuff . . . but in my defense, I'm a pretty green writer. I do most of my editing on the computer screen. HOWEVER, I will be whipping all of that crap out when I get to the line-edits stage. Maybe I'll do another post then, eh?

So what items do you guys need in order to write? Do you function on a level that's even more barebones than my own? Or are you a nightmare color-coding and wite-out? Tell me in the comments

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Weeks 16+17+18

Okay, so I fell off the blogging bandwagon for a little bit. I haven't read any blogs, I haven't posted on this blog . . . I really haven't done anything with anything. >_>

Days Left to Deadline: -50

Days Worked On: UHH.
Morale: It was a mess. Now it's better.
Total Word Count: 98,184 (-1,109 from forever ago)

What I Worked On: CHAPTER 5. Which was promptly split in two and completely re-written. It was a nightmare. Mostly because I spent forever on the re-writing bit before discovering that I was making it worse. Seriously. It went from okay to boring. >_> Of course, once I realized this, everything went pretty smoothly. *thumbs up*

Oh, and now I've officially edited the first story arc. Woo!

Thoughts: Yeah, lemme just come out and say it: weeks 16 and 17 were full of so much horrible and not doing anything. And then week 18 was awesome and full of productivity. Also, I listened to Apotheosis from the Journey original soundtrack on repeat about a million times.

Anyway, wrote about the infamous Trujillo again. Considering that the first version of this chapter was a glorified info-dump, I re-wrote everything except the plotty bits. For a while, Trujillo spent a lot of time wandering around the enormous market district in Jasmine. Then I DELETED IT ALL and started over. Now there's less wandering and more interaction with the bad guys. Oh, and sheep. There are sheep. *thumbs up*

Monday, April 23, 2012


Okay, I've tried to write this post three times without any level of coherency. First it was going to be part of another 5 video games writers should play post. Then it was going to be another ost lowdown post. And now it's just a ridiculous mess and to hell with it.

Uhh . . . Journey?
Journey is a video game designed and developed by thatgamecompany for the PlayStation 3. And I love it. Irrationally, irrevocably, and, uhh, irresistibly.

thatgamecompany describes Journey as "an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with others" . . . which just sounds weird. And Journey is more than that. While there's a plot, this is a game you experience instead of just play . . . so there's a huge emphasis on atmosphere and mood and what you as a player put into it.

This isn't your standard shoot-em-up. This is a game about feelings.

And if that's not enough to hook you, there's singing and scarves and magical carpet things and ruins and sand and glyphs and mysterious other players and a mysterious history to uncover. *flail*

Let me tell you how lovely it is
Because it's really lovely. Just look at these pictures. Tell me they aren't epic. I dare you.

Okay, MAYBE I'm biased. And MAYBE I'm like a crow with something shiny . . . but still, you've got to admit: pretty! thatgamecompany may have picked a fairly simple aesthetic, but it works.

And the visuals are only half the package--the score for Journey is some of the best music I've ever heard in a video game. Yes, it's that good. I just . . . there's no way to describe this without sounding ridiculous. But if you like sweeping, epic glory, you'll love it. And if you like writing to sweeping, epic glory, you'll really love it. Seriously. And if you need one more push, you might be interested to know that all 18 tracks are on iTunes (or the PSN) for only $5.

You should care
Yes. Yes you should. And here's why: as writers we are trying to create stories that make people feel something. We want our writing to have power.

Although Journey is simple, it achieved that goal and made freaking waves in the gaming community. Not only has it become the fastest selling game on the PlayStation Network ever, but it freaking moves people (including the tough dudes playing those aforementioned shoot-em-up), and the reason you can buy the soundtrack is because fans demanded it. Craziness!

So I guess my point is that I've learned things from Journey. And it was beautiful and heartbreaking and wonderful and I want you to learn them too. So play the game if you can, or at least give the soundtrack a quite listen. You won't be disappointed.

Okay, now that I've babbled like a fangirl and italicized half of the words in this post, I want to hear from you. How do you feel about video games? Have you ever played one that moved you, or are you mostly familiar with Angry Birds? Give me a heads up in the comments!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 15

Days Left to Deadline: -29
Days Worked On: 2
Morale: *cries in corner*
Total Word Count: 99,293 (+757 from last week)

What I Worked On: Now that I've finally finished working on the first story arc, I decided to go back and work on the few chapters I skipped (since they're from a different character in a different place). For future reference, these are chapters 5 and 5-1.

Unfortunately I have to rewrite most of chapter 5 because it involves exposition that, while interesting, isn't really relevant right now. Also, it's been a while since I've done any straight out drafting, so I'm finding that rather difficult.

Thoughts: Ugh, these chapters were some of the easiest to write in the first draft, but right now I'm having problems turning off the part of my brain that wants to write in Kai or Eva's POV. Speaking of which, these new chapters are in a new POV that I haven't mentioned online really. So, uhh, enter Trujillo, the sand pirate and some of the more prevalent steampunk elements in my WIP.

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 March Book Roundup

Book Roundup time . . . weee! A quick primer: At the beginning of each month I do a quick review the books I read the month prior. But instead of letting myself get too wordy, each book gets a Twitter-length summary and a Twitter-length review. Genres are listed at the beginning of the reviews and my absolute favorites of the month are marked with a star ().

Looking for Alaska by John Green
YA Contemporary Fiction--Pudge is off to an Alabama boarding school to search for his "Great Perhaps." There he meets the smart, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska Young. § This book is the better version of Paper Towns. Love how Green tackles the hard issues, but wish his characters didn't sound college-age.

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracy
YA Paranormal Romance--Braden was born with witch eyes and can see the world as it truly is. Also, horrific visions, feuding witch clans, and crazy power plays. § A very refreshing read--the magic was unique and the gay romance was handled nicely. Though, battle sequences were a bit confusing at times. 

Manga--Usagi is the guardian of justice--Sailor Moon! The Dark Moon is here to take over the world with the malefic dark crystal! Also, revelations! § This story arc is much more exciting than the last one ... also, character development! Feelings! Dramatic happenings! All the good stuff!

Legend by Marie Lu
YA Dystopian--June is a military prodigy who's been groomed for success since birth; Day is the country's most wanted criminal. Insert dystopian agenda. § So much military goodness and a dystopian world that felt and acted dangerous! The instant romance was unfortunate, but I guess it worked.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
YA Sci-fi--Chaos Walking #2. After fleeing into the clutches of Mayor Prentiss, Todd and Viola are separated and used against each other. Also, misery. § Ugh, this is such a dark, miserable read, though the atmosphere is perfectly appropriate. Ness is a master at playing with my sympathies. 

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
YA Contemporary Fiction--After Katherine XIX breaks up with him, noted prodigy Colin and his best friend Hassan are off on a road trip of self-discovery and worth. § Haha, Colin's thought-process is so ridiculous it's fabulous. In fact, I love all characters. But the epiphanies got heavy-handed at the end.

Purity (ARC Copy) by Jackson Pearce
YA Contemporary Fiction--When Shelby's father becomes organizer of the annual Princess Ball, the three promises she made at her mother's deathbed become hard to keep. § Liked this a WHOLE lot more than expected. Some pretty deep themes here--love, loss, and sex--but they're all handled nicely. Go pick up a copy! 

Johnny Wander Vol. 1: Don't Burn the House Down by Ananth Panagariya and Yuko Ota
Comic--A collection of autobiographical, "slice of life" strip comics about life after college, finding out who you are, and surviving the modern world. § These comics are always a pleasure to read (hint: I've recommended them to you before). Not only are they clever, but they're easily relatable.

Johnny Wander Vol. 2: Escape to New York by Ananth Panagariya and Yuko Ota
Comic--Again: a collection of autobiographical, "slice of life" strip comics about life after college, finding out who you are, and surviving the modern world. § Haha, more cat comics in this volume, so I was definitely happy. Also, I think the comic gets a bit more of a refined direction, which is nice.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
YA Fantasy--Seven Realms #1. After encountering underage wizards, Han gets ahold of a forbidden amulet. Also, Princess Raisa, longs to escape her gilded cage. § Now this is some high fantasy! Started off a little slow, but it takes place in a Yellowstone-esque area and the politics get pretty interesting.