luckykaa: (Default)
I've been looking at text adventure scripting systems recently. It appears that most games are written using Inform, or TADS. Inform is interesting. It uses a natural language approach. So a program looks something like this:
The Warehouse is a room. A box is a closed openable container inside The Warehouse. instead of opening the box, say "It's taped shut"
Which is great. Another plus is the IDE. It has a tile for developing, and another tile for Documentation of running the game; and also provides some tools to tell you everything that's defined in the game. The tutorial goes through things at a steady pace, and has some helpful examples; with IDE integration; so the examples can be copied to the main page with just a click. The natural language system understands a lot of concepts. For example I can say "if going into the ballroom for the third time...", "a bottle is a type of container. A bottle is usually opaque" It doesn't always work as expected. For example, if I write:
inside the warehouse is a box and a cat.
things work fine.If, on the other hand, I say:
inside the warehouse is a container called the box and an animal called a cat.
we get a container called "the box and an animal called a cat." The other problem is that the documentation is limited. There is a tutorial, and a "cookbook", but no reference manual. I want to know if the verb "cut" exists, and what it does by default. I'd also like a list of the basic properties and rules. This doesn't seem to exist. TADS is a much more programmer oriented language. Looks a little more like this:
hallway: Room 'Hallway' "This hall is pretty bare, but there are exits to west and south. " south = startRoom west = study ;
So perfectly readable. Might be worth switching.

Downside I see is that the IDE isn't as good for learners. I don't have the screen real-estate for a separate help window. I could always use my tablet as a help screen. Doesn't allow copy-pasting though.  Also wondering if it has the ease and flexibility. Might give it a go but I feel I should at least get to the end of the inform tutorials.

Nano or not

Oct. 2nd, 2014 03:45 pm
luckykaa: (nano 2012)
Nano's starting again soon. Although they haven't wiped the database yet.

I've tried this every year since 2007, with mixed success (lose, win, win, lose, lose, win, lose). Last couple of times it was kinda stressful though and I didn't really have a lot of fun. I also have absolutely no idea what I want to do this time. I have no stories that I'm desperate to tell.

Don't seem to be doing a lot of creative stuff recently. Maybe I should do this just to give my imagination a bit of a kickstart.

But what should I write? Should I perhaps have a stab at the backwards story (Memento, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind style)? Should I use TVTropes random story generator? Should I just not bother? It was a lot more fun when I had a local community to exchange ideas with. Seems a shame to break my perfect run of attempts, and an attempt with the intention of failing is cheating. If I do that I might as well not bother at all.

Nano day 1

Nov. 1st, 2013 01:02 pm
luckykaa: (Literary)
Words written: zero

Hi concept: 30 connected stories each approx 1666.67 words long.

Setting: No idea

Genre: No idea.

At least I don't have anything like a social life to et in the way this year.

Maybe I should request prompts.
luckykaa: (Literary)
As ever I need to come up with ideas.

So I'm thinking an erotic sci-fi pirate romantic satire with vampires set in a steampunk universe, against the background of the French civil war, with a conspiracy thriller subplot. Aimed at children. Because I can't think of any way to have it relevant to the few remaining genre lounges on the forums.

Maybe not.

A decent satire or parody would be fun but I seem to have trouble finding a target.
luckykaa: (Literary)
Think Nano's a dead loss.  Didn't manage to motivate myself to do any writing this weekend.   Now I just can't come up with enough ideas, or spin out the ideas I do have for long enough.  Not without completely ripping off actual bond movies, which I don't want to do.

And getting so tired.  I'm just not having fun.  It's become a chore. I feel grumpy and would rather spend the time doing other stuff. especially when other stuff involving such things as going out and eating sushi with friends or cooking dinner for [livejournal.com profile] estelliane.

So I'll come back to this as and when I feel like it.

Maybe I'll actually try and rough out a plot next year.  Roughing it out at the same time as thinking about what's going on is something my one-track mind can't do.
luckykaa: (Robot)
It was a shame to turn down a friend's invitation, but this place is a tip, I have a visitor tomorrow.  I seem to spend so much time just keeping this place tidy.  I'm not even in a lot of the time.  Junk just piles up.  And I have the eternal issue of too much junk and too little storage space.  I should get rid of some of this stuff.

The problem really comes from those weeks when I have 2 weeks away followed by a busy weekend.  I produce a whole load of laundry, have a car full of stuff to clear up, have most likely spent a weekend making stuff that produced a pile of debris.  It builds up.  So I now have a slightly tidy home, and while by bedroom is still a tip, at least I can see where the floor is.  I shall have another attack tomorrow.

Next step is to work out what the hell I should do with my computer setup. I suddenly have too many printers.  I should probably retire and dispose of the Deskjet 550C but that seems such a shame.  Plus, I have far too much media that only works with the inkjet.  Seems a shame to waste it.  Ink is getting harder and harder to source though and less and less reliable. 

Failed to get any writing done.  Maybe I'll bash out a few words later but all I want to do is collapse.
luckykaa: (Literary)
Do I actually bother with Nanowrimo this year?

On one hand, so far I've managed about 3000 words.   Ideally I should have managed about 10 times that by now.  On the other hand, I can probably easily knock out another 10000 words at the weekend.  Do I want to?

I do actually rather like the concept.  It's far from original - a blog of a supervillain henchman.  Basically Bridget Jones merged with Austin Powers henchmen.  It is rather good fun to write but I don't really want to rush it.  Plus I'm really a bit short on ideas.  There's not a lot new to say with the ditzy blogger or spy tropes. 

I've done Nano before.  It's a hell of a lot more fun when we have weekly meet up with other earnest strivers.  And I can produce a complete novel.  And I can find time to actually write outside of Nano.  Perhaps I should spend the time actually finishing one of my other stories I've played with. Especially because I quite like one of them.

Must decide whether I want to spend time doing this.
luckykaa: (Literary)
Honestly, I already doubt I'm going to succeed this year. I finally have a concept - somewhat plot-free and story-light, but it's fun.

My first two attempts yesterday just didn't work.  I had an idea for a collection of amusing fantastical first dates (sort of a date with a superhero, an alien, a time traveller and so on without any remark on how bizarre it all is) but that ran out of steam.  The other one was a concept that's been floating around about pot apocalyptic magicians who know how to use technology. It just seemed to be way too dreary.

So attempt 3 is "Blog of a Henchwoman".  Online diary of a young woman entering the male dominated world of evil villainy. No idea why I keep feeling the need for a fed a female main character, but I rather liked the idea of doing it blog style and given a choice between foolish boy and ditzy girl, the ditzy girl just seemed more likely to have a blog.

Nano 2011

Oct. 31st, 2011 10:05 pm
luckykaa: (nano 2009)
That Nano icon is getting a little bit old and crusty.  I could really do with a new one.  Someone did kindly make a "loser" one for us last year, but I don't think I have a copy.

Wondering whether I should try to do it this year.  I'm completely without ideas, apart from a bit of fanfic - a rewrite of Star Wars episode 1, 2, and 3.  I want to avoid that sort of thing.

I just don't have any stories bouncing around itching to be told.  And I do want to finish off a couple of other stories I've been writing, but since I have a this resource of the nano community I feel obliged to make use of it.

Feel free to submit ideas.  Random, useful, and stupid are all appreciated.  I think I'll disappear and scribble random thoughts down in a notebook.
luckykaa: (Default)
I've read various explanations and now not only am I still not sure where plot stops and story starts, but now I'm not sure that nobody else knows either.  Still, there seems to be a consensus that story is about what happens and plot is all about guiding the story.  I feel I'm rubbish at telling a story. 

I'm a pretty poor writer.  That's not false modesty, but it is a drastic oversimplification.  I have had little practice writing.  I write so that I can improve.  The only way to go from being a poor writer to a good writer is to write.  So I write.  I create a plot, work out the story and write.

My prose sucks.  It's amateurish and unsophisticated, but generally functional.  I can live with that for now.  I'm quite happy with my plots, and even when a plot goes horribly wrong I can at least understand why.  It's simply a case of working out what the problem is what needs to be done to solve it and why the characters will want to solve it, with various complications along the way.

The complications are where it starts to get into story telling territory.  Short stories aren't a problem.  When I write anything of any length it the story is "stuff happened, then more stuff happened. Then more stuff happened".  It feels clumsy.  It feels forced.  Like some malevolent deity is interfering with my characters.  As the malevolent deity, I have to do this.  My characters never seem to want to do anything but just sit around waiting for stuff to happen. 

So it's a character thing.  Or a detailed plotting thing.  Or something like that. 

No.  I just don't have a clue. 

Without a good story I'll end up with a series of bullet points and that's where I need to practice. 
luckykaa: (Literary)
A very nice little thread on what people hate about fairy tales.

My take on it was the impracticality of basing a relationship of him being brave and her being beautiful, and secondly, the complete disregard a lot of humans have for personal property and even the life of non-humans. Goldilocks broke into the Three Bears' house, stole their porridge and broke the chairs. Jack broke into the giant's house, stole his property and killed the giant. Dorothy kills the first person she meets (okay - that's an accident) but seems completely without remorse since she's apparently a Wicked Witch.

I do like arguing about silly things like that, and it seems others do too.

As for my attempt - I have a feeling I'm going to get bored with it long before the end of the month.  I have a murder mystery because it seemed to fit the setting, but I haven't got as far as the murder yet.  It's all exposition, which is tedious.  Also I want to add a little more drama and urgency and send my Zeppelin into a dangerous situation but I can't think how to arrange that.  And I want more dieselpunk trappings.  Problem there is that by the 1930's everything was actually pretty modern.  We had cars and electricity and labour saving devices, commercial aircraft, international electronic communications... 

According to TVTropes, dieselpunk is about vastness.  Skyscrapers, Airship, Multinational corporations (already have one of each).  Will have to keep that in mind.

Will see how it goes.
luckykaa: (nano 2009)
The nights are getting shorter, the forums have been cleared, and Nano is about to start again. 

I'm not sure what I want to do this year.  I'll probably write something.  I have plenty of free time in the evenings these days after all.  This year will be a little different.

I'm not going to be in Brighton:(  Brighton has a fantastic community, mainly because of the awesome Municipal Liaisons (who really are appreciated and put in a hell of a lot of work to make it so awesome).  And I know they'll not do it next year so hope that whoever takes on the next one will learn from their example.

But I ramble. 

The main thing is I seem to have absolutely no ideas floating about.  Nothing seems remotely interesting. I mean I have ideas.  I can come up with a dozen or so of them before breakfast.  It's just none of them seem to be anything that really leaps out as being interesting to write.  The other thing is that I want to do something a bit different this year.  Last couple I succeeded with hours to spare.  Might even have been a day or so for one of them.  I know I can do this.  This makes it seem less of a challenge. 

And right now I seem to be soo tired I can barely string together an LJ post. Shall have another bash at composing my thoughts when I've slept.
luckykaa: (Default)
I'm really not sure. 

I'm trying to write something every day.  Not always succeeding.  In addition to that, I have 4 stories on the go.

Nano 2008 - a near future conspiracy thriller about a cybernetic eye.
Nano 2009 - a yarn about a 20th century highwaywoman
The childrens' story I wrote a precursor to Nano 2008 involving an eternally cheerful wizard.
The story I'm writing based on the Steampunky Anchor setting I was working on with [livejournal.com profile] flannelcat

With the writing for the sake of writing, occasionally I come up with something that I quite like.  Sometimes I come up with something extremely tedious.  This is all good.  It's worth trying different ideas.  Some will work, some will fail. Need to be more adventurous.

The Nano 2008 story - had a problem in that it didn't make sense.  It was a MacGuffin issue.  The MacGuffin has been replaced.  The rest of the plot needs to be replaced.  Will need to get on that.
Nano 2009 - This one worked.  It was also kinda dark and depressing.  Should get onto it again at some point.  Several people have expressed an interest.
Children's story about a wizard - run out of plot.  Will have to get onto it again since I like the character.  A character who's always cheerful is great to write for. You can throw so much at them and they don't mind.
Steampunky Anchor story - stalled.  I'm trying to write some dialogue.  It's now working.  It either goes in completely the wrong direction or sounds like blatant exposition.  It's that old writers' problem of characters misbehaving.  My captain doesn't want to do what I tell him to do.  Bastard. 

A Poem

May. 3rd, 2010 05:11 pm
luckykaa: (Default)
Banana banana banana
Banana banana banana
Banana banana
Banana banana
Banana banana banana

It lacks a title.  I think something about bananas might be appropriate. 
luckykaa: (Default)
So the conspiracy... Taken ideas. Expanded, removed bits that don't fit. Ended up with something completely unrecognisable from when I first started. Need to fill in the details.

Person X was assassinated by Conspiracy Group because he was close to revealing their involvement in a terrorist attack. As it turns out the Conspiracy Group were duped into making the attack by Conspiracy Cult who were the nominal victims and managed to use it severely to their advantage, increase their public profile and gain considerable influence in public circles. They have full ownership of a shell company as well as members in most prominent media organisations. As far as this group is aware, the protagonists want to destroy their cult legitimate religion. There's another layer of conspiracy where the upper echelons of this religion want to do something unspeakably evil that I haven't quite worked out yet but may involve genetically targeted bioweapons.

Well, it's a start. I think I might need a red herring conspiracy group as well or something.
luckykaa: (Default)
Seems I reached a state of writer's block trying to write a scene with some inept foreign aid workers, so I've put that on hiatus.

In the meantime, I'm rewriting last year's nano.

I still need a new Conspiracy MacGuffin. If anyone has cool ideas for a conspiracy for me to ignore, please post here. I had a cool conspiracy involving presidential assassination but that doesn't explain why my (British) characters are interested and I'm not going to relocate them to the US since they're way too British in attitude. And It's set primarily in Bristol which is something that's much more important than a mere McGuffin.

What would make a good international government conspiracy?
luckykaa: (Default)
Prologue! It's a great idea. Managed 2100 words today just on the train. And it turned out I hadn't actually written a prologue at all. Just a character introduction. So that means I can write a prologue. Hopefully that will be another thousand words or so.

That leaves just 4000 words. I have a couple of ideas kicking about. Hopefully I can get all this done this weekend.

And then I can start editing. Except I'll be editing last year's attempt. I think I'm going to be a bit sick of this one.

Now I just need to work out what to do with the other one. Notes on that
  • It needs a title.
    • It's about a geek, a free runner and some ditzy chick with a cybernetic eye.
  • I'm going to have to cull at least 60% of the plot. Maybe 90% The remaining 10-40% just needs to be rewritten.
    • I had a funky casino section, a fun bit with the three of them tracking someone and a fun bit with them throwing someone off the trail. The rest of it doesn't really work.
    • I do like my fashion designer character. I'll have to make sure she stays in there. Many people will perhaps see Edna from The Incredibles in her but that's mainly because I based her off [livejournal.com profile] the_smut_fairy (and I'm sure Pixar did too)
    • Need more emphasis on the prisoner's dilemma and get that more involved in the plot somehow. It's a theme. It's a good theme.
  • There's a severe macGuffin issue
    • My tech macGuffin (cybernetic eye with lots of storage) is pretty cool.
    • The conspiracy macGuffin just doesn't work. I was actually quite fond of the idea of a complex presidential assassination plot but I have no idea why two Brits might be remotely interested. Well, one of them has the hots for the American romance macGuffin but that desn't really provide enough motivation.
    • I don't want to set this in the US. I like Bristol. Besides, I don't think I can make it work. I never really have been able to get my head round America's love for their elected officials.
  • My characters are too capable as a team.
    • Honestly, most of the plot development involves splitting them up so they have to deal with problems themselves. One of them is a genius with a photographic memory, the other one is sufficiently athletic that he can manage just about anything physical without breaking suspension of disbelief.
I still have a Mary Sue-esque children's story that I was having fun with as well. A hopelessly positive protagonist just makes me relish throwing plot at him.
luckykaa: (Default)
so, I'm currently slightly behind here... Although my nano stats do indicate that I had done really well briefly before deleting most of my epic tome, having accidentally put in 333340 rather than 33340 into the word count box. Oooops.

I have slight issues with people reading this.

No problems with my previous attempts (if links don't work let me know).
Pre-nano Childrens' story: Eddie The Magician
Nano 2008 attempt part 1 part 2.

I just seem to have slight issues with this one.
Part of my problem is that I don't think it's all that good yet. That shouldn't worry me too much The Nano 2008 has a characters with motivations that make no sense at all, and Eddie is a bit of a Mary Sue (any character called any variant of either of my middle names can be assumed to be a Mary Sue). My writing is pretty crummy. That's something I will work on. Right now I'm most concerned with story telling.

Still I do have problems with this one. There is a small problem that I'm a little mixed up with the setting. It's now based very strongly on Croatia circa 1991. The place names have been changed because history was a little too slow moving for my story. I'm getting a bit mixed up with which culture and which nationality is which, and also who my villain is. This isn't a big deal though. I will need to go through this and rearrange the action so that key points happen in the most appropriate place location. The back story is actually fairly flexible.

Part of it might be the themes. So far I've covered civil war, murder, attempted rape, self-defence killing, ethnic conflict and racism, slavery, human trafficking and sexual slavery and torture. This is generally a much darker set of subjects than my happy outgoing self usually covers.

My other issue is related to the above. I'm not that well educated in any of these matters. Many of my friends are. I'm a little embarrassed to be showing my naivety. Does anyone happen to know a lot about Serbian Krajina?
luckykaa: (Literary)

Just about managed.  It was a struggle until I realised that there being two conspiracies made sense and meant I could easily add one more shenanigan to get those extra 2000 words pretty easily.

So now I need to read it, decide whether I actually think it's any good, and edit the hell out of it.  I'm pretty certain that a few plot threads aren't quite going to make sense any more.  And I still have to resolve the final shenanigan. 

And I think I'll erase the detective.  I was hoping I'd be able to make is fairly amusing but he's a rather dull character.  I'm pretty certain my ignorance of police procedure is far too obvious and I only added him to boost my word count.

Still want to get back to the Children's fantasy story I was writing before this. 

And for the record (mainly for my own record), Kylie is an INTJ, Dunc is an ESFJ, and Jenni is an ESFP. 
luckykaa: (Literary)
I seem to have reached the end of the plot. I still have 5900 words to use up.

Part 1
Part 2

It's not actually a huge problem. I have tomorrow and the whole weekend. I'm just not quite sure how to use a handful of dangling plot threads

Spoilers for those who actually care )
I'll find a way to use up those words. 

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