Written by Kevin Hower Tuesday, 03 November 2009 13:36
Last week, Shelley Plett wrote about NaNoWriMo, the contest in which one writes a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, specifically Nov. 1-30. I decided to do it.
As of this moment, I have what I consider a comfortable start of several thousand words. However, they were written on a weekend day, with no other significant distractions, save writing this column.
I’m an incredibly long ways from the finish line and well aware of that fact. I also have a busier than usual month coming up here at work, but I still intend to finish this book with at least 50,000 words. There… I’ve said it. Now, I’ll have to finish. As Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
I’ve heard, or maybe read somewhere, that there are no new ideas in fiction—particularly science fiction and fantasy, which is what I’m writing. There are merely different ways to present them and interpret them.
While trying to kill some time on breaks between writing this Sunday, I found an awesome wiki dealing with this exact subject. It’s called TV Tropes, and you can find it at www.tvtropes.org. It covers far more than just TV though, including literature, video games, movies and comics. It’s a very informal catalog of the various ideas that are used over and over in all sorts of media.
They’ve done a very good job, in my opinion, of cataloging a huge number of examples of these common themes that show up in various places throughout our popular entertainment.
Anyone who knows me well enough knows I’m a geek and proud of it. Science fiction and fantasy are two of my biggest interests, but some things—though still quite funny—truly belong in the category of, “Really?”
I recently got an e-mail from Starwars.com. I went to one of the links and found a story about a couple who had hired a lady from TLC to make their wedding cakes. Among other cakes she made for them, she made the groom a cake depicting part of a particular scene from “The Empire Strikes Back.” It was a cake of Luke Skywalker hanging out of the sliced-open belly of a tauntaun, complete with edible intestines. And this was a cake…at a wedding.
I have to give the bride a lot of credit, though. This was the groom’s cake and not the main wedding cake. But how many ladies would be cool with anything related to “Star Wars” or any other kind of similar subject even coming close to their wedding, let alone the cake I described earlier, which is, well… kind of gross?
On the subject of “Star Wars,” I found something that’s really cool on another part of the Web site. It’s a sound mixing board with various voice clips from popular characters. You can play the sounds, mix them together and even e-mail them to friends. Go to starwars.com/games/playnow/soundboards/#.
I found a really funny Web video series a while back, called “The Guild,” which deals with the dysfunctional social lives of a group of gamers. They also recently produced a song and video called “Do You Want to Date my Avatar?” Both the series—which can be found at watchtheguild.com—and the lyrics of the song were written by Felicia Day, who is an actress and also a gamer.
What I particularly love about both the song and the series is how Day does a great job of poking fun at some of the over-the-top behavior of many gamers who have difficulty in dealing with the real world. There are even DVDs of the first two seasons, though I haven’t got them—yet.
I was amused to discover the other day—partly because it was Halloween, but just in general as well—that I’m approaching check No. 666 in my checkbook. I’m considering waiting until a Friday the 13th to use it so I can flout two different ridiculous superstitions at the same time.