This might not be significant to anyone who doesn’t remember the original NES or Gameboy game but in a time when every cartoon franchise had to have it’s own shovelware game, Ducktales rose above the piles of accumulating gaming manure as a truly excellent platform game.
It’s been a very long time since I played it, and I can’t be bothered doing any research at the moment, but if I recall the game followed Scrooge McDuck on a round the world quest to save his three kidnapped nephews. And it was awesome!
For the uninitiated here is a sample of the original NES gameplay:
I’ve had mixed success getting my cat to play with my iPad I’ve downloaded Game for Cats but my cats seem to not be very interested in it, I think because the mouse/laser pointer thing they chase leaves the screen just as they start to get interested in it, my cats invariably end up trying to look under the iPad for it.
A couple of weeks ago there was a video circulating the tubes of a guy singing Mad World in Gollum’s voice. That guy is Ijameswalters (I’m going to assume his name is James Walters?) and he’s released a new video of himself and an uncredited female singer (Why Precious not credit female singer?) covering Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know.
You can skip the first couple of minutes of it, which consists of a skit where Gollum plays psychiatrist.
This is pretty cool, a Lego Technic construction that feeds in a piece of paper, folds it into a paper airplane, then fires the plane off to explore the skies. Or hit a wall… Or flop ineffectually to the ground… Who knows? Who cats cares?
What is Camp NaNoWriMo? Apparently it’s a bit like NaNoWriMo Lite, you set a word count goal for the month (I’ve provisionally set mine to 10k) and you get assigned a number of “Cabin Mates” who are your partners in crime for this literary adventure.
At the moment I don’t know very much about what I’m going to actually write, my one goal is to somehow incorporate tea into the story, aside from that everything is a little up in the air.
The seed I have in my head has a main character whose life has stagnated several years after finishing University, one by one all their friends have moved off to other cities for work, or on crazy adventures. It’s reached the point where they have one friend left in the city, and that friend announces that they are moving away too, leaving them alone in the city.
On a whim they decide that they are going to go on their own adventure, I’m not entirely sure where to at the moment, and I’m not entirely sure I’m going to go with this idea.
I’ve got till the end of the month to flesh this out or to come up with another idea, assuming I actually go through with this at all.
This list by former Pixar employee Emma Coats has been floating around the internet, I thought I’ve share it here for inspiration. Pixar consistently release films with amazing stories, and well rounded characters, and while I don’t always agree with having “Rules to Follow” a little bit of advice can go a long way.
You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
While on the subject here is some “Advice to Writers” by Neil Gaiman, I’m sure this was originally in one of his NaNoWriMo Pep talks.
Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
Laugh at your own jokes.
The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.