What video games can teach us about writing (2/3)

Last month, I discussed how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could teach writers about world-building, travel time, and how to show (and not tell). Even if open-world games like Breath of the Wild can give the player any experience they want, there are still some weaknesses of the genre. It’s difficult to provide direction for a plot that can be experienced at any time and in any order. Older video games didn’t particularly have this problem due to their fairly linear format. Of course, there also wasn’t much in terms of a story either. While nostalgia can color our experiences with games like Mega Man and Super Mario Bros., one can find their influence on modern gaming in gems like Shovel Knight. With modern development tools, game companies can preserve the nostalgia of these older games while also advancing the “retro” style in exciting ways. What’s perhaps surprising about Shovel Knight is its ability to tell a story...
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What video games can teach us about writing (1/3)

Art inspires art. Sometimes a beautiful painting can give you an idea for a short story. Perhaps a beloved song is a jumping-off point for a novella. Maybe a great movie can get your creative juices flowing for a book of your own. Art can come in many forms, but one form most people don’t readily recognize is that of video games. I’ve already written about how games like Not Tetris describe my idea-collecting process, but recently I’ve played a few games I would consider artistic enough to pull some lessons into my own writing. Art inspires art. But, are video games art? Video games have come a long way from the days of Pong and Pac-Man. While these games were kept simple due to technical limitations, today’s video games no longer have these restrictions. I think one of the reasons why video games aren’t considered art is that most art is one-directional. You go to a museum to view paintings. You listen to music on your...
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How traveling improves your writing

With the invention of the internet and the ease of access to an endless supply of research materials, practically every aspect of the writing process can occur on a home computer. We all know the cliché of the writer who holes themselves up in their house and spends days upon days in a disheveled state writing their book. While I always encourage writers to get out of their house and write somewhere else once in a while (especially when they have writer’s block), many successful writers have found what works for them, and it often involves a routine centered on making themselves the most productive they can be. Depending on their home situation, they could very well spend most of their time writing from the comfort of their favorite desk or table. Unfortunately, a limitation of spending so much of the writing process indoors is that some of the best research needs to happen in the field. One of the best...
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Case for the Gigasecond

Time is such an odd thing to measure. Depending on the circumstances, time can feel a lot longer or shorter than it actually is. What’s really strange about time is the fact that it can never be measured twice. Sure, you can measure the same amount of time again, but you will never be able to measure that exact same section of time again. It’s gone, relinquished to the past. Does this mean that scientific measurements involving time cannot be repeated? If we want to be bogged down in semantics, nothing is ever repeatable because the time will never be the same. In fact, the ever-changing nature of time could almost be considered the purest universal constant. Now you might be asking yourself why I’m currently so focused on time. Well, as a matter of fact, my birthday is at the end of September. Last year I turned 30 years old, and it struck me that I had actually reached “full...
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Why you should NEVER throw away a good idea

When I first heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I thought it sounded like quite the novel idea: commit a full month to putting words to paper and by the end of it you have a first draft of a book. While my first year was quite the challenge, once I had completed it, I knew it was in the realm of possibilities. Even though writing 50,000 words in 30 days is a challenge, I was already starting to think of ideas on how to break up this daunting task into smaller, more manageable chunks. One of my ideas was to write about my experiences on Colorado’s 14,000+ ft. peaks (known locally as “the Fourteeners”). Since there are 58 named peaks above 14,000 feet, I would have to only write 863 words about each mountain to accomplish the NaNoWriMo challenge. As a result, I will be writing the first draft of the aforementioned “Fourteener” book this November. Ideas are easy,...
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