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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:05 pm 
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I was going to say you should put a link to the book in your signature. But it turns out I got nothing to say.

Hmmm, well I'm really enjoying The Iconoclasts. I haven't finished the game yet (a little over 10 hours in) but it's on track to be one of my favourites. If you like puzzle-heavy action platformers with deep worldbuilding then you should check it out.
There are some genuinely powerful moments in the story. I'd love to talk about it, but don't want to spoil it for anybody.

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*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:54 am 
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So, actual shop talk for the moment, I've had a number of ideas rattling around in my head for a few months (or longer) but never could find a good use for them. Now, ironically, with the advent of a character I hope you'll meet soon, I've actually found a place for about FOUR of those unused ideas.

...I just have to figure out how to make them relevant to the story at hand.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:57 am 
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Good luck! :D It's always good to have that concept that makes click together multiple floating ideas, like connecting four different colors with one move in a cascade-type puzzle.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:50 am 
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So, how's everyone been lately?
I've been... passable. Work has settled into a pretty glut, but I've been indulging in a pretty unhealthy level of retail therapy to roll with the increase in my hours.

I reached out to Orcish the other day. He's maintaining, which is good as much as a shame. He's been doing some travelling in between caring for the wife.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:34 am 
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I'm in a bit of a weird spot. I'm trying to go live with a few friends, but my manager has been cutting my hours since there's little activity. Which sucks supremely, because I have 20-25 weekly hours on average, and less hours mean I could need to pay rent and expenses from the money I put aside in the last months.
My job is supposed to have variations of activity (I deliver mail for a private business, and some of our clients are schools, for example) but still...
I could search for another job with few hours, but summer heat makes me miserable and it could become problematic when/if activity picks up at my current job.

On the positive side, my 7th Sea campaign is going rather well, and the Ambiguity contest in the YmtC subforum is making me writing a little, which is always good.

Would there be a way to start a similar project, with people writing tidbits (even of bare plotting if they lack time) every week or so, bringing a story forward together? A bit of a play-by-post roleplaying with our characters, like. Possibly something that allow for people to skip a week if they don't have enough time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:50 am 
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I'm doing well. We're spending most of the summer in the US (flying tonight, in fact), and I'm a bit apprehensive about undertaking the transatlantic journey with two toddlers. Also about staying with my in-laws for five weeks (they are great people and we all love each other, but five weeks of sharing limited living space is hard on anyone). But once I'm over there and settled I'd love to get back into writing something, so I think a low pressure recurring prompt would be great!

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:36 pm 
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There's been kind of a lot going on in my life lately that I'm not really going to get into right now. Nothing bad, just a lot of change. It has been taking up a lot of my mental space, though.

Would there be a way to start a similar project, with people writing tidbits (even of bare plotting if they lack time) every week or so, bringing a story forward together? A bit of a play-by-post roleplaying with our characters, like. Possibly something that allow for people to skip a week if they don't have enough time.

It depends on exactly what you mean. On several occasions, I've tried to start threads where one person writes a bit of a story, then another person writes a bit more, and so forth. And with only one exception, I've found that it breaks down into a joke almost immediately. But if that's fine by you, or you have a way to mitigate that, then I say go for it. It's always fun to see new writing around here.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:20 pm 
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There's been kind of a lot going on in my life lately that I'm not really going to get into right now. Nothing bad, just a lot of change. It has been taking up a lot of my mental space, though.

Would there be a way to start a similar project, with people writing tidbits (even of bare plotting if they lack time) every week or so, bringing a story forward together? A bit of a play-by-post roleplaying with our characters, like. Possibly something that allow for people to skip a week if they don't have enough time.

It depends on exactly what you mean. On several occasions, I've tried to start threads where one person writes a bit of a story, then another person writes a bit more, and so forth. And with only one exception, I've found that it breaks down into a joke almost immediately. But if that's fine by you, or you have a way to mitigate that, then I say go for it. It's always fun to see new writing around here.

That one were nobody was allowed to look at the previously written sentence actually made sense for a few paragraphs.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:01 pm 
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I just got back home. I was out in Las Vegas for the last ~10 days visiting family that live out there. A lot of the reason was to have a party in remembrance of my father, who passed away... what was it, 3 months ago? I was hoping to go out and do it on Father's Day, but we had to postpone it by a week for other reasons. It was okay, I guess. It's always the same whenever we have a big party with our large extended family and friends: a bunch of people who knew me when I was like, 6 years at the oldest and whom I never knew. I spent most of the party talking with the daughter of one of my brother's friends about anime and such (she was like 13, but all the other kids around were 10 or under and not nerds, so she didn't really have anybody to have fun with, and we had bonded a bit when we had gone over to their house the week before).

I've still got another day off before I go back to work, and SGDQ is going on, so I have something I'm kind of excited over at the moment. It helps that I also got to watch a bunch of anime while at my brother's place.*

But, as I mentioned earlier, I've still got quite a bit going on for the next month. My mom is still out with my brother, so I'll have to watch her house as well while I'm home. I've also got to get ready for my trip out to Baltimore at the end of July, where I'll be meeting up again with the good Mr. ShadowOfCygnus again. I'm also frantically reading through a bunch of stories that are going to be physically printed for the convention, including some stories by people I've made friends with lately.



*anime in question


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:45 pm 
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On several occasions, I've tried to start threads where one person writes a bit of a story, then another person writes a bit more, and so forth. And with only one exception, I've found that it breaks down into a joke almost immediately. But if that's fine by you, or you have a way to mitigate that, then I say go for it. It's always fun to see new writing around here.

As for the contest I'm a part of, a person holding the reins of the global narrative would help. Said person would have more work to do, obviously; I'm trying to come up with a few good starting ideas as I type.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:41 pm 
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Every kind of media has its strong suits. That said, it's a source of suffering for me that writing something that feels like this is basically impossible.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:21 am 
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My cat has recently become insistent that I fed her donut sticks as treats

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:52 am 
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Every kind of media has its strong suits. That said, it's a source of suffering for me that writing something that feels like this is basically impossible.

It's not exactly the written word's strong suit. Might still have an edge over the radio drama guys there though.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:55 pm 
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Every kind of media has its strong suits. That said, it's a source of suffering for me that writing something that feels like this is basically impossible.

Well, firstly, huh. It's been like a decade since I've looked into Stickpage or RHG, but I can't help but notice both Hyun's and Terkoiz's names dropped. I guess they must still be active.

Secondly, I disagree that it's impossible. That video is basically the first level of simplification of a fight scene: taking it down from its fully-animated glory to just the fight choreography, which is something I put under the umbrella of "writing". I'd like to take a moment to also note that the video is a combination of several well-choreographed fight scenes from several different anime. The second level of simplification would be to break the scene down sequentially -- i.e. convert the scene into comics. With comics, you can convert both camera movement and character movement into panel size and shape, as well as the amount of detail within those panels and where the characters are within those panels (such as breaking outside of panel borders for a strong attack). For the last level, getting down into writing, the lack of visuals requires careful pacing; you can't take too long detailing the scene to the point that it slows the action down in the reader's head, but you can't be so bare that the reader becomes confused as to what's going on. Different POVs can also be used to different effect -- 1st-person POV is excellent for this as you can put your reader in the character's position as they twist and dodge, block and parry, feel their pain as they take blows and cuts and bleed and throb, throw the reader into purposeful confusion as the character becomes disoriented, etc.

Just because a majority of people don't write good fight scenes, doesn't mean that they cannot be done. Sturgeon's Law and all that. I think it's also worth noting that the feel of an action-heavy fight scene from something like Naruto/Bleach/One Piece is a completely different from a more brutal, more realistic fight scene from something like Sword of the Stranger/Moribito/Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. One could probably construct an argument over how one type of fight is more effective and engaging than the other, and I'm certain each has their own strengths and weaknesses regardless of the medium.

I'd love to provide an example of a well-written fight scene, but google wants to spit out "how to write fight scene" articles and threads, and not actual examples.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:09 pm 
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Hey, I happen to think I write a damn finely choreographed fight.
Not to sound vain, mind you.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:28 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
Hey, I happen to think I write a damn finely choreographed fight.

I'm not talking about choreography, but pace. There are written fights I absolutely adore, and one of the reasons I started the Fight Club was to practice writing good fights.

For the last level, getting down into writing, the lack of visuals requires careful pacing; you can't take too long detailing the scene to the point that it slows the action down in the reader's head, but you can't be so bare that the reader becomes confused as to what's going on.

That's my point exactly. There is a point where no matter how good you write and how fast the audience can read, the time required for reading the fight is several times the length of the fight itself. Visual fight scenes don't require the viewer to keep things in mind (like the respective positions of the fighters and the significant traits of the battlefield), or to know what certain fighting terms mean, as all the burden is put on the content creator. The audience just need to follow the pretty lights and suspend their disbelief as needed.

Choreography is visual and written medias have different spaces to explore, basically. They mostly overlap, but some aspects have different difficulty gradients. Of course, referencing the most ludicrously good examples of animated fights skewers my perspective somewhat.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:00 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Hey, I happen to think I write a damn finely choreographed fight.
Not to sound vain, mind you.

I don't know if I could say one way or another, in large part because I haven't kept up with everything the M:EM has produced in years, now, so I'm largely drawing blanks as to possible fight scenes within our canon I could point to. I don't mean to put you down, but I just can't call to memory almost any fight scene in our canon at the moment -- and several strain what I would call a "fight scene" because of how much magic and how little actual fighting takes place.

There is a point where no matter how good you write and how fast the audience can read, the time required for reading the fight is several times the length of the fight itself.

I would still argue that point, but I can see where you're coming from when you're literally talking about DMC-style over-the-top style-amped-up-to-eleven shounen-battle-anime fight scenes. As I said, there is a distinct difference between those style-over-substance fights (with no offense meant -- I enjoy a good flashy fight every now and then as well) and those presented in more realistic shows, or even across time periods. Consider Bruce Lee movies like Enter The Dragon, and compare those very realistic fights when compared to what the kung-fu genre evolved into over the following decades: things like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or (dare I suggest it) The Matrix. Honestly, even the latter examples are slow when compared to the direction anime went in the same time period: and you could make the same comparisons just by looking at Dragon Ball's evolution from original run through Z and GT and into Super. A lot of the fights in the older media could well be put into text alone provided one had the proper skill in writing.

Visual fight scenes don't require the viewer to keep things in mind (like the respective positions of the fighters and the significant traits of the battlefield), or to know what certain fighting terms mean, as all the burden is put on the content creator. The audience just need to follow the pretty lights and suspend their disbelief as needed.

While to me that sounds pretty unfulfilling, I think I understand what you mean. I would argue, though, that "explaining fighting terms" isn't as one-sided as you make it out to be. If, by the time you get to the fight (and really, for a fight to be impactful, the audience should have been given some reason to care about the characters beforehand regardless of the medium), you're audience doesn't understand the significance of, say, the champ's glass jaw, then regardless of what medium you're expressing it in, they're not going to get it. If you're writing a fight scene and you decide to stop the action to explain what a full nelson is, that's breaking up the flow unnecessarily, in just the same way a lot of battle manga/anime break the flow of a fight unnecessarily by going through expository flashbacks in the middle of a fight. I'd also like to point out that, in-character knowledge of the battlefield as well as each combatant's position is often very important in an anime battle, and things like "how close is he to a ring out" is often only brought up at the very significant points, which can just as easily be replicated in text.


Choreography is visual and written medias have different spaces to explore, basically. They mostly overlap, but some aspects have different difficulty gradients. Of course, referencing the most ludicrously good examples of animated fights skewers my perspective somewhat.

I think that's where our views mostly differ. My whole initial rant (and a lot of this one, I think; it's hard to tell after a day of nonstop sneezing) was about differing speeds and impacts of fights regardless of medium. Looking at, say, Gaara Vs. Lee and saying "it can't be replicated in text" is a world of difference from looking at, say Mugen vs. Jin or Edward vs. Greed (any of the, like, three) and saying the same. Irregardless of that, I will continue to argue that the pulse-pounding, adrenaline-fueled, edge-of-your-seat feeling you get from watching two characters whom you know well (or at least who clearly stand for two opposed forces, such as natural talent vs. intense effort as is the case for Gaara vs. Lee) can be found regardless of medium.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:27 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Hey, I happen to think I write a damn finely choreographed fight.
Not to sound vain, mind you.

I don't know if I could say one way or another, in large part because I haven't kept up with everything the M:EM has produced in years, now, so I'm largely drawing blanks as to possible fight scenes within our canon I could point to. I don't mean to put you down, but I just can't call to memory almost any fight scene in our canon at the moment -- and several strain what I would call a "fight scene" because of how much magic and how little actual fighting takes place.

There are several good fight scenes in "Eternal Eclipse," even if they pretty much all revolved around poor Donagut getting the **** kicked out of him. The War of the Wheel has some good fight scenes (if I do say so myself). I'm particularly happy with the fight between Kahr-ret-Taris and Daneera when they first meet. And "Dead Man 'Walking" basically exists for the sole purpose of writing a fight scene.

I also remember some really good fight scenes from V.I.T.A.L....

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:03 am 
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It's interesting that VITAL is brought up in this, because I remember a tangental story to this very clearly: in Round 1 of VITAL, I wanted to create a "pure" fight scene, since part of the conceit was that we were in a scenario something like a fighting game. This interchange came up --

Tevish's story is basically a description of the moves of the combatants. There's some interesting back and forth in the way Rangrid and Aerik dance around the platform -- indeed, the entire piece is a description of choreography. But there are like five words of dialogue, and there's no character interaction other than Rangrid's internal fight commentary. I feel that Tevish was trying to direct a movie scene by scene, rather than playing to the strengths of the prose medium, and his story suffered for it.

Suffering or not, that IS exactly what I was going for. I went in to this intending to write a combat -- not a short story, a fight, and neither combatant came off as particularly mouthy so I knew going in that there wasn't going to be a lot of talking, if any. I deliberately avoided character interaction, out of the arena politics, or traditional development in favor of, well, trying to choreograph the best fight I could in the afternoon I set aside to create.


I didn't win that round because, as CKY would have it, I didn't play to the strengths of the medium

Where we are in this conversation, I'm not sure what side that supports. On one hand, it didn't 'work'. On the other hand, in a technical sense? I kind of did exactly what's so contentious. Maybe it wasn't as good as the stickman battle, but it was an afternoon's diversion, not a professional effort, so you could call it proof of concept.

Now, I've spent a good deal of time (probably too much) analyzing elements of show's I've watched, including how they handle action scenes. I've also spent a good deal of time (probably not enough) writing my own, and many of those taking full effort. And there are elements of what makes for a good battle that are exactly the same: Dynamism, for instance, is important whether you're in written media or visual. There have to be twists and turns, an ebb and flow to the combat that helps 'sell' each motion and keep interest high because everything being done, from either side, matters. You want to fear for the heroes, and you want to cheer for them, and both visual and written media build this the same way. And there are elements that are different. In visual media, speed is critical because it's fully within the artist's control. A writer can kind of do the same thing, by choosing what to describe in flowery detail (slow-mo) and what to relate in very basic terms (fast action), but there's only so far you can push, and it does rely a little on the reader no matter what. It's still nice to get it right, but it's dropped many ranks in importance. On the other hand, the writer has a tool that the animator doesn't: Point of View. In visual media, you have one point of view -- the camera's. True, some creators put a microphone in their characters' heads, but by in large long inner monologues are something that would totally screw up an action scene. You get to relate what happens, which can include banter, but any expression of the inner feelings of the characters has to be related by visual means, the body language they have and the expressions on their face. In essence, character is, for the visual medium, the same kind of grace note that timing is for written, while in written media you are privileged to (in the fairly 'standard' third person limited) pick a character and relate EVERYTHING about how that character experiences the fight. You see what the character sees... and you can feel what they feel: Their hope, their fear, their rage, their pride -- it all comes out in the text. And you can incorporate what they DON'T see as well. In a visual medium, a character taking a hit they didn't see coming is a hard thing to do. The audience will probably see it coming, because if they didn't it would mean you broke the narrative thread of the fight. We want to see what's going on, all of it, which is why slow-mo is so dang popular and jitter cam action so dang annoying. In a written medium, it can come as a real shock when the strike interrupts the character's train of thought, and the proper time can be devoted to it after the blow as they realize what just occured.

And there are also elements that the stickman battle lacks, like investment. I can respect the choreography, but if you don't establish stakes in a fight, no matter the medium, it's going to be weaker than if you did. Your audience should CARE about what's happening.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:09 am 
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And there are also elements that the stickman battle lacks, like investment. I can respect the choreography, but if you don't establish stakes in a fight, no matter the medium, it's going to be weaker than if you did. Your audience should CARE about what's happening.



This is a good point. While I really appreciated the stick battle, but I never knew what to feel about any of the twists because I didn't care who won. When the advantage shifted I didn't feel either excited or anxious because it made no difference to me. If it had just taken five seconds in the beginning to define one of the characters as the protagonist it would have been much more impacting.

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