The History of One Drink

Greetings and salutations readers! I’m hard at work trying to wrap up Jungle‘s first draft (it is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a jungle), but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep you guys in the know. And today, I’ll be doing that with a recap of the creation of One Drink!

Yes, this post was a Patreon reward. Supporters got to see this all the way back in May. Now that Halloween is almost upon us, however, I feel that the time is right for a revisiting of One Drink with its ghosts and its necromancers and—of course—its straightforward protagonist. Where it all came from, how the first book came to pass, and naturally, what came next.

If you’ve not read One Drink, then be forewarned that this post contains spoilers. Seriously. For a 99-cent book that’s been out for almost five years now. Nudge nudge, why-haven’t-you-just-read-this-already? There’s a link to it right here!

But yes, spoiler warning.

And now? Let’s take a look at the history of One Drink

Continue reading

Advertisements

Being a Better Writer: Applying Writing Advice and Feedback

Welcome back readers! Another Monday is upon us, and I’m diving right in today. by picking up a request topic from Topic List X!

So, you’ve done it at last and found a like-minded group of people who’ve come together in a pleasantly pleasing—yet still critical—writing group (more on that topic another time). You’ve met, discussed one another’s work, and as expected, they’ve found some areas you can polish with your work. But then, as you sit down the next day to look over what the group had discussed and the fixes you want to make, you come to a sobering realization.

You have no idea how to actually apply the advice they gave you. You know where the problems lie, sure, and what didn’t work. You’ve even got a few suggestions that they gave you. But as to how to put that advice to work in your writing? Suddenly, you’re drawing a blank.

And to be fair, this isn’t easy. Sands, that’s why the question was asked! Getting feedback on what needs to be fixed and then figuring out how? It’s a challenge, especially if it’s your first time having received such. You might even feel a little overwhelmed!

But first step—and this is key—is not to worry. Feeling overwhelmed is often one of the first reactions when faced with the thought of apply writing advice or sticking it into your story. And once you’re overwhelmed, it’s hard not to focus on that feeling.

So first, let’s break things down, shall we?

Continue reading

Hunt: Showdown is like a 1890s Monster Hunter International Game

I’ve been a fan of Crytek’s video game offerings every since they burst onto the scene in 2004 with the ambitious and impressive Far Cry, a game that boasted impressive AI and vast, colorful maps famous for giving the player a wealth of options and choices, as well as a graphical fidelity that pushed modern systems to their limit—both things that would become a staple of their games moving forward. Selling off the Far Cry license to another publisher, Crytek then went on to create 2007’s Crysis, a game that built upon the foundation of designs laid in Far Cry while simultaneously spawning the meme “But will it run Crysis?” due to the game’s incredibly demanding system requirements. But despite those astronomical requirements—so high that computing groups around the world, from NASA to China, began using the game as a benchmark for testing the newest and most powerful computers—Crysis was an impressive game at its core, boasting advanced AI, physics, a draw distance most games couldn’t even match a tenth of, and open gameplay brought about by player abilities that led to a wide range of playstyles and tactics.

Then it all went downhill. Emboldened by the sales of Crysis, Crytek got ahead of itself. Determined to bring their titles to console, the studio slimmed down the sequels to Crysis, creating games that didn’t so much push the envelope as they did constrict it. Dropping the linear maps, advanced AI, and most of the gameplay options led to games that could release on the vastly weaker hardware of consoles … but also that weren’t nearly as fun to play. Crytek, counting on the graphical fidelity of their engine to sell engine licenses as well as games, also woke the sleeping giant of Epic. As Epic’s Unreal Engine began making serious strides to both price itself competitively and catch up with Crytek’s own CryEngine, Crytek found that they’d overreached themselves, and faced cutbacks, closing of projects, and other issues. And, for a time, the studio became fairly silent.

Now, having spent the last few years relatively silent save for market deals and behind-the-scenes operations that really aren’t so exciting to the general public, Crytek is back, and they’re finally letting their new project see the light of day. The dismal, dark, moody light of day that steeps Hunt: Showdown from top to bottom.

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Characters with Handicaps

Welcome back readers, to Being a Better Writer! Tuesday edition, because … reasons. It happens.

Anyway, today I’ll be tackling a topic that’s been requested once or twice, but I never got around to addressing until today: How to write a character with a handicap, and write them well.

You ready for this? The short answer is … carefully and with care, but ultimately, like any other character.

But of course, that answer isn’t good enough. Not by a long shot. Though if it is, well … that wasn’t going to stop you from clicking away anyway. For the rest of us, however, let’s hit the jump.

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer Delayed

Just a heads-up, guys, but you probably won’t see this week’s Being a Better Writer post until tomorrow. I’ve got an early-morning work shift today, then a physical therapy appointment (one of the last, thankfully, as my knee is healing) right afterwards. Then another early-morning shift tomorrow. And in my current financial situation (which is really bad), I need every shift I can get.

BaBW for this week will likely hit tomorrow morning or afternoon, as a result.

 

In the meantime, there are years worth of archives to binge through!

Review: Seven-Point Star – A Solid Early Work Despite Some Missteps

Woof! This has been a long time coming. And for that, I owe G.S. Taylor an apology. This review was due a while ago, but with the bronchitis knocking everything back, getting this review out and onto the screen has taken far, far longer than expected. But better late than never, and now at last you, my readers, finally have a chance to take a look at my thoughts on Seven-Point Star, Taylor’s first novel.

So let’s get one thing out of the way first: Seven-Point Star is a fairly solid appearance from a new author, with plenty of strong points to it. If you’re looking for the short, 100% blind, spoiler-free review, that’s it. Seven is a fairly strong first work that, especially at the price, is worth picking up and reading through, especially if you’re the kind of reader that admires the particular strengths it does put on display … or if you just enjoy quick alternate history/fantasy reads.

What are those strengths, you might ask? Well, for the spoiler-free summary, here you go—I found the protagonist to be strongly written, mostly in her perspective and unstable teenage vantage point, and the world itself—what we’re given anyway—is almost like a Sci-Fi-Crystal Fantasy fairy tale in the way it comes across. Both these elements stay pretty solid through the course of Seven-Point Star, and if you’re looking for something that delivers those, well, Seven-Point Star will satisfy your thirst … though you will notice weaknesses that run counter to those strengths. In my personal opinion, however, the strengths are just enough to make up for the weaknesses and carry the title on above average. So you’re still going to get a decent read provided you appreciate the strengths for what they are.

Right, with the short, spoiler-free summary out of the way, let’s get a bit more loose with how much this review gives away—without giving away too much, but I will have to reveal a few general concepts as we dive into the book. Hit the jump for spoiler-town!

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Writing for Yourself

Short one today, readers. Mostly because I’m writing this between conference sessions on a Saturday, as I’ve got work shifts Monday and Tuesday, among other things, and so it’s literally a case of “Blitz this while I can!”

Right, that in mind, let’s dive right in. Today, I don’t want to talk about writing big, drawn-out epics, or short stories, or chapters, or anything that you know you will be publishing. Today, I want to write about something different. Something with another goal in mind.

I want to talk about writing for yourself.

This topic stems from a recent conversation with a friend of mine that jogged my memory to many similar conversations with other individuals, as well as a Patreon supporter post that touched on the idea as well. To save time and sum things up, I’ll just say it outright: There are a lot of people who start a writing project, wanting to tell a story, and then just kind of taper off. Always thinking about it, but never going back to it because it wasn’t that great, or it wasn’t at a level where they’d show it to anyone, and they felt either self-conscious or embarrassed by the idea of finishing it and putting it out there.

Well, I want to tell you a secret: You don’t have to show it to anyone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t finish it.

Continue reading