Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogging About What I'm Writing..and Don Quixote.

A lot of what I write is creative but it isn't. That is, the whole "staff news writer" thing at Nintendo World Report.
I spend a lot of my free time writing news, writing reviews, or playing games for that site. You can see a lot of my work up there. I'd very much argue that that is creative, but very structured.
Pretty much anything that you write could technically be considered creative writing. Even note taking can be creative. It's all about what kind of spin you put on it. What you do to make it your own. Hopefully my work at NWR is unique and wholly my own. If not, then my tenure in video games journalism will be brief.
I'd like to think I'm on my way to having a unique voice at NWR.


In one of my literature classes I'm reading Don Quixote. I won't lie, I'm not reading it with my class.
I was in a production of the musical based on Cervantes' work, Man of La Mancha, in high school. I thought it was a really awesome story and then made it my business to find it and read it. At the library where I worked, we had two different English translations of Don Quixote. Sadly, both of them sucked. I've been very negative towards ever reading a translated version since.
I'd sooner rather read the Spanish version than read a shoddy translation.
I should probably stop being so damn stubborn.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


A book that saved my life? Saved is a pretty big term. I don't think my life as ever really need saving, but that's all in the eye of the beholder. One book does come to mind, and sure enough, if it wasn't my m.o. already, its a "graphic novel." But this one is very far off the path of superheroes and tights. Its called Blankets by Craig Thompson.
To be honest, I haven't read it in nearly six or seven years. I think I was a freshman in high school when I read it and I was doing the whole "I broke up with my first real girlfriend and I'm a sappy bitch" phase and I was bored while I was working at the library. How I came to love comics and graphic novels was because of that job anyway, so this all makes sense. I would get all the necessary work done and then hide in the ever-expanding graphic novel section and read everything. I read (and actually disliked initially) V for Vendetta. I read some graphic novel about that dude from the Real World who died of AIDS. I read Spider-Man crap. I read Y: The Last Man. I read the Watchmen. I read Blankets.
Blankets is an extremely personal autobiography about the teenage life of Craig Thompson. It didn't echo what I was going through, but I could sympathize with the characters and due to the great storytelling that was hidden in the story, I got over the break-up (which was really pedestrian anyway) and moved on with life. I haven't read it since, but the conclusion I reached, the conclusion I can't even put my finger on, still stays with me to this day.

I don't know if that makes sense.

Illness and Fiction Writing

I swear to god I was legitimately sick last week.
What all transpired was like something out of one of those Chaos Theory movies like Meet the Parents. I had three tests and a paper due in a span of three days. I was all prepped to study and be academically awesome. The night before the first test, I got smashed in the face (metaphorically) by a cold.
Shit definitely happens.
One should rest if they have a cold, I really couldn't with my multiple jobs and scholastic obligations. I did everything I had to and by the time I got to Thursday night after finishing my final test (a fucking lab exam), I pretty much collapsed for the next day.

I missed last week's blog due to the fact that I've gotten into a pretty good habit of doing them the day before the class and that schedule was thrown the hell off.
Fiction is a tricky mistress. I have a lot of trouble starting writing than actually continuing. That's my one huge gaping weakness. I can't start. I can continue, I can eventually finish, but I can't start. It really sucks. Now that I've become more busy, I don't have all the time I used to have where I could just stay up late, listen to music, avoid communication, and write. That's when I would be most productive. Ideas would come to me and they wouldn't rot. I could actually flesh them out in a place that wasn't during a bullshit Lit class while my teacher pronounces Odysseus as "Odd-diss-seuss."
Maybe this is all a metaphor for why I was always a better relief pitcher than a starting pitcher when I played baseball.
Or maybe I should pat myself on the back for coming around and seeing creative writing as a hobby and not a potential living.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prompt Ho!!!

I did some Google-searching for "Writing Prompts" and then quickly realized that we were supposed to be finding Poetry Prompts. However, one of the Writing Prompts I found helped me develop the character for my short story, which should have been ready by everybody by the time most of you see this.

Write an Anaphora poem. An Anaphora is "the repetition of a word or expression several times within a clause or within a paragraph". In poetry the repetition of the phrase can be just at the beginning of each line, setting the tone as a meditation or a mantra, or it can be utilized more subtlety within the poem. The poem can be free verse or prose style.
I liked this one because, well, anaphora is a pretty cool sounding word. Also, repetition is sometimes a good way to get off the ground with a poem. Albeit my poetry writing skills are somewhere between horrendous and passable, I find that's a way I can overcome it.

Write a poem that begins with a description of an event, telling what appears to be happening. Then give a description of what is really occurring.
While poems should never be too confusing, its always interesting seeing something done differently, which this encourages.

Next time you watch a movie take note of the people in the background. Develop a character sketch by selecting a peripheral character. Follow an extra off screen and reveal who he is and what he is about to do.
Although I found this from a prose prompt, I like the idea of it and this could be easily switched to poetry.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Joyce James or The Possibility That He Is A She

Switch the names and he becomes a she.
I'm thinking there's some kind of worldwide conspiracy regarding this. Ireland, being the drunk sexists that it houses, couldn't handle their posterchild writer being a female so they made Joyce switch her first name with her last name. That's also how last names started to precede first names in libraries.

Joyce James is a good writer in the historical sense. Her works house good stories and as much Ulysses annoyed me with the giant freaking run-on sentence, its still a good story. What bothers me the most about Ms. James is that she seems to love to confuse the hell out of the reader by giving too much detail at the outset and, in her very distinct style, turning multiple phrases in one sentence (per 10 pages).
That style frustrates me but I really can't hate on her work that much because the stories have the base quality that most writers try to emulate. That 'je ne sais pas' that most of Belinda Shakespeare's work has.
What holds her back is the world she lives in. You can see in James' writings that she just wants to say "I am woman, hear me roar!"
I believe someone wrote in their blog that Joyce James' writings should be read by literature and writing connoisseurs. I agree with that.

I still hate the double standard put forth by her work. She can be all confusing and use run-on sentences but if I pulled that, it'd be marked up from here to infinity. Just a thought...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Being A Video Game Journalist is Freaking Awesome

So if you all have been keeping up with my blog then you'd know that I missed class last week to go to Santa Monica, CA (all-expenses paid) for an Activision Press Event. For the uniniated, Activision is the leading third-party video game company (third-party meaning that they don't make a console like Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony). Activision has a lot of money. I got to see what that money produces.

While I technically can't go into specifics about the games I saw (there's a media embargo for them going off of 9 AM PST on Thursday and another one at the same time on next Tuesday. Check out Nintendo World Report and read my previews and impressions when they hit!), I can detail how absurd these events get.

The first event I went to was about Activision's upcoming Spider-Man game, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. This was low-key. However, the event following it which involved Quantum of Solace, the game based off the next James Bond move, was not.

First, I was taken in a car with another gaming journalist. In the driver's seat sat an "undercover chaffeur" and a Bond girl sat in the passenger seat. We were zipped around the streets of Santa Monica as they told us "we were being chased." We wound up being dumped into a parking lot where someone with a car trunk full of briefcases gave us each a briefcase and told us to put on the shirt inside and read the note for further instructions. We put on our ridiculous suit t-shirts and waited for our driver to come back.

After that, we were finally driven to the actual location of the event where we posed for pictures near an Aston Martin and were handed martinis (shaken, not stirred). We then played the new Quantum of Solace game for about an hour and a half. We were then booted outside around the nice pool area of the hotel where we were treated to an open bar, bikini-clad women, and food ranging from sushi to chicken and waffles.

Finally, after about two hours of bullshitting with gaming press, developers, and the Call of Duty military advisor, we were allowed back into the room where the games were setup. Only this time, there were casino games setup. I kicked back and played Texas Hold'em and Blackjack with a cadre of sober, drunk, and drunker games journalists for the rest of the night.

Not sporting the trademark hangover that half of the journalists at the event seemed to have, I enjoyed the final day of the event as I previewed the latest Call of Duty game.

Then I flew home.

So...what'd I miss in class?