Showing posts with label zombies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zombies. Show all posts

How to Use

TV Tropes is a fantastic site, collecting every story trope humanity has ever done, along with examples. If you've got a spare month or two (not a typo), I highly recommend heading over there. If you've never been, let me give you some tips on how to use the site.

1) Let it depress you. Start with some trope you're writing, say air pirates. Follow the links to all the interesting, related tropes--especially ones you thought were original--like cool-looking airships or the villain's airborne fortress that threatens to rain cannonballs on the goodguys. Come to the realization that there is NOTHING original in your story AT ALL. Quit writing.

2) Let it encourage you. After you've quit writing for a few years, realize that nobody ELSE is original either. That makes unoriginality okay (within reason). The goal in fiction is not originality, but to take what's been done and make it fresh and interesting again. To make it YOURS.

3) Let it inform you. Now that the tropes are no longer soul-crushing, find your favorite trope to see how it has been handled before, how it's been subverted, and how famous the examples are so you know what you can get away with. Come up with subversions of your own, or mix it with other tropes in new and interesting ways.

4) Let it inspire you. Stuck for ideas? How about the origin story of a Judge-Dredd-style adventure hero and his possibly-insane sidekick facing an evil tribal circus in the African jungle. If that doesn't work, just hit the TV Tropes Story Idea Generator one more time until you find something you DO like! And if it sounds too lame or familiar, just add ninjas (or samurai or pirates or mecha or whythehecknot all of them). Because it's AWESOME.

Are any of you even still reading this, or did I lose you like 15 links ago?

Books I Read: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Like dystopia?* The Alliterati are giving away 4 YA dystopian novels over at the Secret Archives. Check it out!

* See what I did there?

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: YA zombie dystopian
Published: 2009
Content Rating: R for zombie violence

All her life, Mary has only known the village--the Sisterhood that rules it, the fences that surround it, and the ever-hungry Unconsecrated trying to get in. Life is...okay--restricting, depressing, and the boy she likes is marrying her best friend--but things get worse when Mary learns secrets about the Sisterhood that threaten to destroy them all.

This book hooked me pretty fast. Even the cover and the title make me want to read it (plus I have a thing for zombie apocalypses). The writing--something I rarely care about in favor of a good story--is fantastic. It's beautiful, creepy, and tense.

I did have a problem whenever Mary did something stupid. I know, she's been through a lot and doesn't have much hope, but it was hard for me to excuse her occasionally-risky behavior in a world where the smallest risk can get you zombified. Other than that, I thought this book was great. The zombie scenes were properly scary, and the world was properly interesting.

I've read some folks who were upset that not all secrets were revealed, nor all questions answered, but that didn't bother me at all. They gave the information I cared about, and I can fill in what I like pretty readily. If you like zombie stories, check this one out.

Answers the Second: Randomness and Torture

Matthew Rush asks: Would you rather be Jirayah (Pervy Sage) or Kabuto (the dork with the glasses)?

I can't say I approve of Jiraiya's choice of hobbies or Kabuto's choice of employer, though they are both pretty powerful. But any way I look at it, Jiraiya's got one thing going for him that Kabuto doesn't. Sage Mode:

Susan Kaye Quinn asks: Favored platform: Mac or PC?

I would love a Mac. Thank you for offering.

Every time I buy a new computer, I have to make this decision, and it always comes down to the same thing: Macs are expensive, and PCs have all the open source software I want.

Preferred literary success: Bestseller or Hugo?

Oy. Fine, if I have to choose, I go with the one that gets more readers: bestseller.

Apocalypse: Super virus or sentient computers?

Neither. The world is destroyed by robot pirates and zombie ninjas (also dinosaurs).

Awesomeness: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

For the purposes of this exercise, we will pretend George Lucas stopped fiddling with Star Wars in 1983. With that in mind, the most awesome trilogy ever is ISTHATSAMUELL.JACKSONINANICKFURYMOVIEZOMGITIS!!!

Caped Guy: Batman or Superman?

Batman, hands down. Did you know he has a file on every superhero's weakness, just in case he ever has to fight them? The guy's a genius.

Asea asks: What's your favorite local food?

Market food: fried pork and bananas, dim sum and pork dumplings, chicken satay, rotee, fried potatoes... (Hm, just got a Mary Poppin's song stuck in my head).

If your characters (from your various WIPs) were caught in a zombie apocalypse, would they make it?

Heh. Hagai would be the first to go, though Sam and Ren might last a while (good fighters, and I bet the zombies would have a hard time storming their airship). Suriya, on the other hand, should have no problem. She has a tendency to blow things up when she's mad.

Do you ever make up your own board/card games? How about twists to existing ones? Do you play games in combination (e.g. you play Monopoly, and the profits from it fund expansion in Puerto Rico)?

Before I focused my creative energies on getting published, I designed games all the time. As for twisting existing ones, we don't do it often (I tend to assume the game balancers did their job well), but we do it to our most familiar games. We've played Settlers with a blind setup (i.e. flip the numbers over after you place your settlements) or with a 12-sided die, and we once played Ticket to Ride: World Domination, in which we combined a board of regular TtR and TtR:Europe. I don't like Monopoly much, but I love your combination example. Sounds like it would be fun for a tournament or a gaming marathon.

Thanks again for your questions and for putting up with my answers. Don't forget our special guest artist on Friday!

Demotivational Winners

You guys are hilarious. The number one reason I wish I had more readers is so I could have more hilarity to enjoy and share with you guys. Maybe when I hit 200 followers or something we can do this again (even though followers aren't readers).

Enough talk. To the posters!

First, the honorable mentions. Most Likely to be Put Up in My Office goes to "Monday" by the recently wed L.T. Host, and Late But I Still Like You goes to "Courage" by K. Marie Criddle (who has her own contest going on, by the way). Click these entries to enlarge.

The winners were chosen entirely based on how hard they made me laugh. Third Place goes to J.J. Debenedictis, who provides the best reason for exercise EVER.

Second Place is Susan Quinn, who made excellent use of the ubiquitous internet cat images (not an easy task!).

And First Place with both barrels is Emmet Blue. Both his posters made me laugh so hard they both win. What can I say? The man knows his judge.

I'll contact the winners to figure out your prizes. Congratulations, and thank you everybody who played!

Jonathan Coulton, Re: Your Brains

(Re: my previous post on your ideas never (ever) getting stolen, Writer Beware has some helpful information on copyrights. Of particular note: all original expression is copyrighted the moment it is fixed in tangible form (including all your posts and comments on the internet)).

Okay, so if you already know Jonathan Coulton, just skip to the video and enjoy.

For the rest of you, Jonathan Coulton is very important in the geek world. He's a singer/songwriter in the legacy of Weird Al, but he tends toward original songs more than parodies. His songs are geeky, weird, and often hilarious. If you've been around the internet a while, you may have heard his folksy, acoustic cover of "Baby Got Back." Or the ending credits of Portal -- that was also him.

Probably better than telling you is showing you who he is. This song is about a horde of zombies trying to get at some humans in a mall. One of the zombies is a former coworker of a survivor -- the kind of coworker you want to blast in the face with a sawed-off shotgun (even before he was a zombie).

Here, just watch (lyrics below the video):

Re: Your Brains

Heya Tom, it's Bob, from the office down the hall.
Good to see you buddy, how've you been?
Things have been okay for me except that I'm a zombie now.
I really wish you'd let us in.
I think I speak for all of us when I say I understand
why you folks might hesitate to submit to our demands,
but here's an FYI: you're all gonna die screaming.

All we wanna do is eat your brains!
We're not unreasonable. I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes.
All we wanna do is eat your brains!
We're at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise:
if you open up the doors,
we'll all come inside and eat your brains.

I don't want to nitpick, Tom, but is this really your plan?
Spend your whole life locked inside a mall?
Maybe that's okay for now, but someday you'll be out of food and guns.
Then you'll have to make the call.
I'm not surprised to see you haven't thought it through enough.
You never had the head for all that bigger picture stuff,
but, Tom, that's what I do, and I plan on eating you slowly.

I'd like to help you Tom, in any way I can.
I sure appreciate the way you're working with me.
I'm not a monster Tom, well... technically I am.
I guess I am.

Got another meeting Tom, maybe we could wrap this up.
I know we'll get to common ground somehow.
Meanwhile I'll report back to my colleagues who are chewing on the doors.
I guess we'll table this for now.
I'm glad to see you take constructive criticism well.
Thank you for your time. I know we're all busy as hell.
And we'll put this thing to bed
when I bash your head open.