I told you the next post today was going to be good, didn’t I? Welcome to the third installment of Writing by Quotes! When I was trying to decide which work of fantasy to focus on today, I considered Warcraft. I know it’s fantasy, but I think it would be nice to focus only on written works (and their movie adaptations) rather than video games. So, today we’ll explore the whimsical world of Discworld!
Let’s just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards’.
~ The Colour of Magic
This wonderful quote comes from the first installment in the Discworld series. It’s the first one I read and still a great read now. I love this quote because it’s very Monty Python-esque and makes me chuckle each time I read it. If we applied it to writing, I think the major piece of advice to take from it would be to think of this when you’re writing characters. Sometimes, characters do stupid things. Really stupid things. Usually it’s just a part of their personality, but other times it’ll be the author’s fault. If your character taunts gods and evil guys without a care for his safety, he should get obliterated. Be careful what your protagonist does…
Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as between terrorists and freedom fighters.
This same comparison can be applied to protagonists and antagonists (good ones, anyway). It’s good to paint characters in shades of grey and make the reader question who’s got the moral high ground and who hasn’t. If characters are falling a little flat and lacking depth, add a bit of uncertainty and make them question their own actions.
‘You know me,’ said Rincewind. ‘Just when I’m getting a grip on something Fate comes along and jumps on my fingers.’
~ Interesting Times
A brilliant quote which explains what we as writers do to our protagonists to keep things interesting. If the goal is too easily achieved, we lose interest, don’t we? Make it difficult–make it brutal, even–and the readers will thank you for it even if your characters don’t.
‘Look out of the window. Tell me what you see.’ ‘Fog,’ said the Chief Priest. Vetinari sighed. Sometimes the weather had no sense of narrative convenience.
~ The Truth
I have to say, I love this. It reminds us as writers that the world carries on around your characters when they’re going about their business. Things shouldn’t just work out perfectly all the time. Maybe your characters are going to have a walk under a clear, starry sky? Well, maybe that night there’s a storm and the characters have to find shelter instead. There might even be a greater opportunity for development in such a situation. Think about it.
‘In a world where we all move in curves he proceeds in a straight line. And going straight in a world of curves makes things happen.’
~ Night Watch
Why write a meandering, round-the-houses story, when you can get straight to the point and whack your reader in the face with a tonne of action, mystery and intrigue? Just imagine how much quicker you can write and how much better it could be if you head in a straight line? I’m not saying you should cut corners, but you can always stand to streamline the way you write.
I’m treating you mean, posting lean and keeping you keen this Friday. It’s been an incredibly busy day and I only got 4 hours sleep last night. So, in the spirit of tiredness and laziness, here’s your Friday Funny!
And this because I saw it and it’s too cool not to post.
You heard the title, it’s Spider-man Friday! Yes, I am deadly serious… it is.
You will probably not know one thing about me: I’m a huge Spidey fan – he’s my favourite comic-book character, closely followed by Gambit, Magneto and Vulture. You’ll probably not know a whole lot of other stuff about me, but that’s beside the point. I thought I would hit you all with some Spider-man goodness this Friday and share some good stuff:
My really quick review of The Amazing Spider-man
My thoughts and progress in The Amazing Spider-man video game (Xbox 360)
A brand new Incredibly Awesome Superheroes episode featuring… Batman! Well, I’d be stupid not to cash in on the Dark Knight Rises mania, wouldn’t I?
WARNING: There may be some spoilers, but nothing major in this post. Just please be aware.
The Amazing Spider-man Really Quick Movie Review
These scores are out of 5. I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t I get snatched up to be a professional movie critic already? It’s something I ask myself every day…
Story – 4
Uncle Ben’s death was done perfectly, Peter’s cool-geek existence is believable and his father’s mysterious past is intriguing.
Characters – 5
You really sympathise for Doctor Connors and feel fear and tension whenever the Lizard is around. Spider-man himself is brilliant and blurts out the trash-talk just how he always should have been doing.
Web-slinging – 5
This movie really shines in the web-slinging department. You get a lot of 1st person camera shots which make you feel like you’re Spider-man. Plus a sequence near the end with some cranes really stands out.
Oscorp Sinister-ness Rating – 4
Everyone talks about Norman Osborne and his illness, but you never see him. Oh sure, there’s a shadowy silhouette of him on a big screen and the Oscorp building just screams “there’s evil stuff brewing here”. Really hope they keep the tension building and only reveal Norman in the third movie.
Overall – 4.5
One of my favourite movies of this year. The best Spider-man movie I’ve seen, hands down.
The Amazing Spider-man Video Game
You’d expect a video game based off of a movie to be terrible, right? Not this time, web-heads. This is one of the first movie-based games I’ve played that didn’t suck.
The graphics are great on Spider-man’s suit (and unlockable suits), on the Manhattan vista and perhaps only suffer when talking about ordinary human characters like Gwen, Doctor Connors etc. The city’s buildings close-up are nothing to write home about, but everything fits together so nicely and the city itself has a lot of life and bustle about it. The sounds as you swing around and touch ground are fantastic – there’s epic, movie-style music, you hear sirens and honking of horns if you’re running around the streets and the rushing of wind in your ears as you fling yourself about and whip through the air.
One of the things I particularly love is when you let Spidey fall from a great height and he starts skydiving towards the ground, gathering more and more speed as he falls. You can’t get hurt from fall damage (he always shoots a web to stop himself being crushed) but the thrill and danger is still always present. Shooting webs at enemies, yanking them towards you and weaving them into fights is effortless. Spidey shoots his webs like a cowboy toting a pair of pistols and always has something to say when he takes down an enemy. In addition, his web-shooters flash red whenever they shoot a web and Spidey will regularly reload them with fresh cartridges every so often.
The indoor sections are perhaps the best part of the game for me. Forget Arkham Asylum/City, this game is where true superhero stealth is at. Ok, you can’t set up traps or detonate devices when you please, but Spidey can crawl on any surface (and the camera is perfect) and stalk his enemies like a true predator. Silent takedowns can be executed from the ground or a ceiling/wall and the enemy will always be taken out of sight and webbed to the ceiling so his buddies aren’t alerted. I’ve cleared many areas with about 10 enemies in it with finesse and satisfaction and without being detected the whole time, simply because its so fluid to control Spider-man.
The web rush feature is really good too. Every Spider-man game from now on NEEDS this feature! It’s so simple, yet so effective. Basically, you can tap the shoulder button when you’re aiming at a distant surface/platform/wall/ceiling/anything and Spidey will zip there in the blink of an eye, showing off his moves as he does so. You can also rush at enemies using this mechanic and it’s used for distant silent takedowns. Other cool features include: ability to web-shot enemies to walls, a fantastic swinging mechanic that’s easy to use and rewarding to master, Spidey’s costume ripping when he takes damage, the presence of classic Spidey villains and hints at others, ability to collect and read entire Spider-man comics (both new and old) and a changing, organic city environment (that’s never as frustrating to navigate as Web of Shadows/Prototype when it’s infected).
In summary, this game seriously rocks and any Spider-man fan should buy it. Swinging and exploring never gets old and you can replay completed sequences to play around with the combat system, collect pickups and unlock new costumes.
Incredibly Awesome Superheroes #2: “Batman”
It took me a while to draw those villains – click on the image for a close-up on their costumes!
I thought it would be fun to share some fun stuff with you this Friday. We’re all tired and looking forward to the weekend – what better way to spend the day? If you have any funny stories/pictures, please feel free to share!
Oh yeah, I just realised its Friday the 13th! Well… we’re still doing funny stuff. Take that superstition!
Cyanide and Happiness
This is today’s comic from Cyanide and Happiness. This isn’t my work, I’d like to point out, but I can dream… can’t I??
The picture speaks for itself…
This one’s pretty funny. I’m slightly dubious about ordering from Dominos again!
Welcome to Fantasy In Motion’s first Champion Post! Fantasy In Motion Interviews… will now be one of our signature features, involving an interview with a lesser-known character from popular fantasy stories and getting their take on events. Today’s interview will be sure to appeal to Lord of the Rings fans, as we speak to Bill the Pony…
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Hi Bill, we’re glad you could join us.
Thanks, I’m excited to be here.
So, for those who don’t know you, could you explain why you’re so famous?
Sure. I had a grand life in Bree, only having to think about where my next feed was coming from. But then the Ringbearer and his little friends came along and all that changed forever. I was bought for twelve silver pennies. They tell me it’s three times what I was worth, but I can’t comment on that.
How was it traveling with the Fellowship of the Ring?
Oh, it was difficult to begin with. I wasn’t in the best shape back then and I feared they might put an arrow through my head if I didn’t keep up. That elf, Legolas; he always had it in for me.
But all that changed when you reached Rivendell, didn’t it?
It sure did, James, it sure did. Soon as I crossed that city’s threshold I felt like a young foal again! I could frolic about with the best of them and not have a care that my joints might give in. Those really were good times.
So, it’s understood that you left the Fellowship’s company when the Watcher in the Water attacked outside Moria. Can you explain why you abandoned your friends to an uncertain fate?
Oh, come on, that’s horse-crap! If it wasn’t for me, that creature would have killed every last one of them and ended their quest there and then. What most people wont know is that I actually possess powerful magical abilities. Forget Gandalf the Grey, it’s Bill the Brave you should watch out for! I fought hoof and er… well, hoof anyway. The Fellowship retreated inside Moria and the Watcher collapsed the door behind them. I started a tactical retreat and barely got away with my life.
But it didn’t end there, did it, Bill?
No, it did not. When I returned to Bree, I was hailed as a hero. Let me tell you, I had my pick of the ladies and got as much feed as I could eat every day. I’d had my taste of the high life and I loved it!
And what about when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin returned to the Shire to find it overtaken by Saruman and his ruffians?
I can’t really comment on that, James. Some say I played a small part in those events, some deny I was even there. I’d prefer to keep it uncertain.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, now that those meddling elves are leaving Middle-earth and Sauron is dealt with, I can return to a life of simple pleasures. Perhaps I’ll explore the Mines of Moria someday, seeing how I didn’t get to go there. I hear Gondor’s nice in the summertime.
Bill, thank you for your time.
No problem. It’s not as if I’m busy, is it?
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If you have any questions for Bill the Pony, he’s going to be sticking with us for the rest of the day, so drop in a comment and he’ll do his best to answer!