creativity

Bitten by a Martian Spider

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Ever had one of those days when you had a song stuck in your head? 

I really wish it was as simple as just having a song stuck in there...  instead, David Bowie, Pete Steele, Rozz Williams, and Bruce Dickinson are competing in a Pitch Perfect style Riff Off.

Did your eyes cross?  Imagine how my brain feels. 

Each one presents a song with images that would make for an amazing story, but just as I get to the point I think I know what I could write, the next story takes over. 

I really want to allow myself more freedom to work, and I want writing to be fun again, but this is ridiculous.   I don't know when I put my business hat back on, but I need to take it off and burn it.

I need to let myself love the fiction, and stop trying to force myself to "do the right thing for the business."  The right thing is for me to be a fan of my own fiction.  I don't know why I keep forgetting that. 

It is almost like every time something makes me happy, an alarm goes off and tells me to stop.  I would laugh if it wasn't for the frustration. 

Roadrunner United's Roads just came on my Slacker Radio.

A soaring hope is reeling in my head

I can’t remember this

But it must be what I miss

Suddenly I find I’m standing still

Staring at the ground

Waiting for your sound

— "Roads," Roadrunner United

That's it.  That is the feeling exactly.  I am not waiting for inspiration, I am looking for the perfect sound.  The tones that work together just right.  A killer riff that will drive forward.  I am looking for a "fresh sound for the new album" as it were...

Maybe there is a way to bring harmony to the cacophony, but I don't see it quite yet. 

Love isn't money

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It's not something you buy
Let me fill myself with tears you cry

You know I am in a fun mood when I open a post with a quote from Black Sabbath. I've had Wishing Well stuck in my head all week.

As a writer, I want to entertain people, but I also want to share something intensely person. Something that con only be shared through stories.

I love it when I hear from you all. You make all the soul searching worth it. But, I feel a strong urge to be original. To tell stories that are different from the ones I read, watch, and listen to.

The problem with originality is getting other people into it. I read the reviews and so often they make me smile.

As I work on this story, I wanted to return to the things I love. You can really see that in Wand and Weaver: The Chain.

The other problem with my struggle for originality is that it fills my head with more stories than I know what to do with.

So, I think I have seen a way forward. Wand and Weaver is a bigger story than I can easily tell, but I think I have found a way to do it.

I have changed my focus for the serial. I am going to tell a story that parallels the main story so I can give you all a fuller image of what is going in in the world.

I'm still not sure what I am going to do with the story if Amazon Serials doesn't take it. I am looking for options if you know about any.

What other stories in the Dragons of Night world do you want to read? Let me know.

Costumes, Role Playing, and Unity

One of my absolute favorite aspects of fandom is the costuming and roleplaying, and I would have to say they are the two most maligned and stigmatized things that we do.  Let's start with the most accepted by the popular culture and proceed to the least understood.

Computer Roleplaying Games

Mass appeal of video games have normalized RPGs on the computer, and why not.  Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and Knights of the Old Republic were all such brilliant games, it is hard to see how they couldn't have had a mass market appeal, but in the one place where Roleplaying should flourish, it is all but extinct.

There was once a type of game known as the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG).  The problem is that these too entered the popular culture, and they spawned a new bane: badge collectors.  A sizable number of the MMORPG players became obsessed with their statistics, what badges they earned, and what loot they could get.  The software companies saw these players as their core audience and in some cases, there only audience.

The games were increasingly designed for these players and not for the fans of story.  Coinidentally, the acronym was shortened from MMORPG to simply MMO.  Players have done what they can to keep roleplaying alive, but they are generally isolated to a specific server or guild, and they are not aided by the software designers who more and more are crafting games that challenge your prowess with a keyboard and mouse and don't require any thought whatsoever.

This is one of the reasons I am so excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic and Stargate Worlds.  They are trying to bring story into the games and make it front and center.  I wish them the best of luck.

Table Top Role Playing Games

Earthdawn Gamemaster's Compendium (RedBrick Li...
Image via Wikipedia

Table top RPG fans are the geeks that geeks love to hate.  Don't believe me?  Listen carefully to a lot of the podcasts out there.  It won't take you too long to find people having a geeky conversation about their favorite tech and occationally mocking TTRPG players.

Table Top games are not  as easy to play as their computerized bretheren, but they are a lot more fun.  There are more requirements to play:

  • The Rule Books
  • Friends who have free time to come over
  • Dice
  • Creativity
  • Imagination

I didn't stutter at the end, and no, I am not padding the list.  Creativity is the ability to think originally, and imagination is the ability to see with the minds eye events as they are described to you.

I think those last two more than anything else makes people not like tabel top games.  Personally, I love them.  I run an Earthdawn game at the house every Sunday.  Nothing brings friends together for a good time like a shared adventure built from the collective imaginations of everyone there.

Live Action Role Playing

Vampire: The Masquerade
Image via Wikipedia

Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) is penultimate expression of role playing.  There are numerous systems for LARPing and they all generally involve renting a location, playing in a park, or the storyteller's home.  Most LARPers dress up in elaborate costumes and carry props to aid in game play.

I used to play Vampire: The Masquerade both as a table top game and as a LARP, and I have to say, the LARPs were always more fun.  We played at local conventions and I ran a chronicle that spanned various players homes, parks, and a few businesses who allowed us to use their establishment.

Who doesn't enjoy getting dressed up and spending a night as someone else?

One aspect of the LARPs I've played that made them so fun was that they were locked to the locations they took place.  The story was handled through notes given to the players to explain what happened between sessions, and a couple players who agreed to play according to the scripted motives I provided for them.  To this day, some of my favorite memories took place at LARPs.

We were a part of a LARP network where storytellers coordinated large scale events between cities, and at conventions our players would play through pivitol stories.  The largest LARP event we threw had 500 players in attendence.  3,00o players made up the network.  We coordinated through a email list.

LARPs are emense fun, and I miss them terribly.  I had hoped that MMOs would provide a platform for virtual LARPs, but so far, they haven't.

Costuming

Death EaterSome people just love dressing up.  They don't roleplay at all, they just wear the costume for enjoyment.  For some, it is an uniform.  For others, it is an expression of their identification with the character or race they are recreating.  And others do it for the challenge of recreating the costume.

Steampunk is an entire movement built around costuming for the sheer fun of it.

Fans who Play together Stay together

Most of the deep, personal relationships I have developed with fans over the years has been between fans I have roleplayed with.  We share an experience that is truly unique to the players who were there.  Memories of events that are not replecatable in real life.

All these years later, I still run into people at the conventions who remeber the night my Taleison should have seen his reflection in the mirror and went mad.  We talk about it like a moment from a movie or series that we loved, but our connection to the event is so much more personal because we were there when it happened.

So if you haven't before.  I hightly recommend to gather up your friends and play a game with them.  Feel free to choose the type, but make sure it is one that will build those memories that will last a lifetime.

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The Call of Knitted Cthulu

The creativity of knitters never stops impressing me.  I really hope I can find patterns so I can make a couple of these for myself.  I can just imagine the looks on people’s faces if I went into town wearing a knitted Cthulu ski mask, or the creature from the black lagoon.  O the looks, muhaha, I need to get some for me and all my friends.

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(via Flickr 1, 2, 3, Thanks Jessi!)

The Writer's Devil

Dark and sinister waves of blah wash over me and take all creativity from me.  The devil stole my imagination.  All the incantations I know have failed in the face of such darkness.  There is a light, faint in the distance, but I am weak, and can only pray I will reach it before it is extinguished. Oi, I hate writer's block!!  So I have been lost in a galaxy a far, far away for a while, but the clouds are starting to part.  I hope to have some good news for you soon.

Gerrold on Trek

My hero, David Gerrold recently did an interview with the Courier Mail on his thought about the original Star Trek Series.  First, he explained the two factors that he believes lead to the success of the original series:

"First, we had such a remarkable cast...  Gene Roddenberry picked three very, very good actors and they fit together so beautifully," he says.

"And then the second thing is, the context of Star Trek is that here's a world where everybody is respected and everybody has a place in this world and people are all big enough to handle their problems, and so they focus on problems of a much larger scale and challenges of a much larger scale (Courier Mail)."

I have to agree.  I think the phenomenon of Star Trek is that we fans really do want to live in that world and try to live in accord with the values we see in the series.  The vision of a world where people are free from their relatively petty problems to delve into the deeper meaning of life and justice resonates within us.

Gerrold also points to the creativity of the original series:

"And they would come up against new people and new planets that would challenge their definition of themselves, it would make them ask the question 'what does it mean to be a human being? What are we up to here?' And I think that was part of the appeal of the show: we're discovering not only what's out there but what's inside ourselves, and that the final frontier is really the human soul, not space – space is just where we're gonna meet the challenge," Gerrold says (Courier Mail).

Gerrold hit the nail on the head.  I know the stories that I enjoy writing most are the stories that did into why people are the way they are and why they do the things they do.  The potential of the soul is truly the final frontier.

News that the next Star Trek feature film... will revisit a young Kirk and Spock is heartening for Gerrold.

"If it were my choice I would reinvent the original series," he says.

"Wipe the blackboard clean and you go back to Kirk, Spock and McCoy and the Enterprise, with new actors to find different interpretations of the characters. And I think there's a possibility, just as we've see different interpretations of Superman and Batman, maybe that's how Star Trek is gonna survive (Courier Mail)."

Well... I like the new Superman.  I think the creator of the new Batman should be horsewhipped until they beg for forgiveness.  And while the new Battlestar Gallactica is technically brilliant, the story is so dark I want to kill myself at the end of each episode... I just stopped watching the series.

Like any good myth, I know there will eventually be new versions of Kirk and Spock, but the brilliance of Star Trek was the optimism and adventuresome nature of the characters and the setting.  If it were to loose that it would become Voyager or Enterprise, and suffer their fate.  Gerrold opened my eyes to the possible benefits of a remake, but I would prefer to meet new characters in the time of Kirk and Spock.