Category Blog

My Writing Tools

I was asked what software I use to write and what pages I keep bookmarked for either research or inspiration. Ever since I stopped using a Brother word processor to write and made the switch to PC (with Windows), I’ve been using MS Word. There was a time when I wrote on whatever was available, back when I had an Atari 800 XL or my Commodore 64 or my Amiga 500 and 1200, but for as long as MS Word has been available, I’ve been using it. By now it’s more a matter of convenience and comfort. I haven’t tried anything else because I’m so used to using it already. There’s always some pain with a new version, of which I’m sure I’m not using it to its full potential, but as long I can manage the basics, I’m fine with it.

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Video Game Trailers

I was asked to comment on the complexity of some video game trailers and how they sometimes tell a story better than some contemporary movies. While I absolutely hate to use the same word more than once in a paragraph, I felt the need to specify how this only happens some of the time. Movie plots in general have been in a steady decline, but very few game trailers are worthy of being considered to have a story. Only AAA role playing games or MMOs would fall into this category, where they have the budget and resources to make a promo similar to a movie trailer. Blizzard and Ubisoft are prime examples of software companies that not only create games with rich storylines but go to great lengths to produce stellar trailers for their games.

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Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, in no small part because it’s toward the end of the year with all the other great holidays and centers around the giving and receiving of candy. I grew up on Long Island, where there are actually four seasons, and I remember fondly dressing up in costume to trick or treat through neighborhoods with great big trees and autumn leaves. Though a much different feel from Arizona, where instead of grass and trees we have colored rocks and prickly cacti, Halloween can be just as fun out in the desert. The 120ish degree summer is just a memory, and the nights are cooling off enough that wearing a costume doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

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Writing for an MMORPG vs. Writing for a Novel

I can’t say if my experience was typical of the industry, since I was the only writer there. I’d like to think it was not, seeing as how I was forced to eventually quit for lack of payment. There were a number of key differences between writing for a game and a novel, not the least of which was having to work with someone else’s ideas – no matter how I felt about them. I was lead writer, but I wasn’t in control, a difference that set the tone for the job.

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Description

One of the key elements to crafting a story is description, whether it’s building scenery in the reader’s mind or shaping the appearance of a character. I tend to approach this through the usual senses, focusing first on sight then leading into any of the other inputs that apply. This is not to say visual description is the most important, it’s just the most apparent (for humans). Adding sounds, smells and textures can contribute considerable flavor – no pun intended; not many scenes call for taste descriptors. Additionally, these can be further explored by showing how they affect the point of view character. This, of course, leads into an essential use of description: character building.

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