Category Archives: Writing

Taking a Few Week Break

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I’ve been late or missed the last few #WriteTuesday posts, so I’ve decided I’m going to take a break from writing them for the next couple of weeks (although I will still write my June What Are You Reading Post, which will appear on the last Thursday of the month).  I’m currently planning on resuming #WriteTuesday in July; I hope everyone has a good couple of weeks! 🙂

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Wow, It’s June!

Where is the time going? I can’t believe we’re already a week into June!

I forgot to write a #WriteTuesday post last week because I was gardening.  I’m very happy with how my gardens have turned out – it makes me very happy to be hanging outside with Merlin. 🙂

pic of my garden

As for this week, I don’t really have an excuse.  I’m still feeling pretty blah because I haven’t got a big writing project on the go.  I did some work on “A Friend from the Deep,” specifically looking at the characters of the story, but haven’t gotten any further than that so far, even though I do have some ideas on how to rewrite the story.  We’ll see how that goes this week (or if I should start working on something else instead?)

How about you? How’s everything going? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – a Blah Sort of Week

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  How are you holding up through all of this?

Ever since I finished Of Pieces and Memories last week, I’ve been in a kind of blah mood (at least once the initial excitement of finishing wore off).  My problem was that I didn’t know what to work on next.  I could go take a look at “A Friend from the Deep” and see about editing it (it got rejected a few times, so I’m thinking it needs some work).  I could look over “Of Skeletons and Sorcerers,” which also needs some editing.  I could start tackling Tears of the King, which is long overdue.  Or I could go do something totally new.  What to do?

While I was thinking about it, I decided to read through some more magazines that I had stockpiled.  I managed to snag the 2018 Writer’s Digest magazines from the library at the beginning of the year when they were withdrawn to make room for this year’s, so I’ve been mostly flipping through those (I also got caught up on all the emails from Writer’s Digest, so it’s been a week of reading about writing!)  While, at least right now, I’m not really finding the magazines satisfying in the way that reading a book is (which also means I need to start reading a book…), I’ve gotten some great writing tidbits, which also gave me a few ideas of how to tackle “A Friend From the Deep.”  So it’s looking like that’s what I’ll be working on this week!  I found my copy of it last night so I’m ready to go today. 🙂

How about you?  Any plans for the coming week?

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A New Name for Edric

Edric/Godric sprite and face graphic

Edric/Godric

About a month ago, I noticed that my wizard character, Edric, had a name that started with an “e” like two of my other characters (Eireen and Ena).  When I originally came up with the names for everyone, I tried to have all the people who were related to each other share a first letter (so, as mentioned, Eireen and Ena are related, while Alea, Adalyn, and Albert, etc).  So I’m not quite sure how I messed this up originally and made Edric’s name start with an “e” too.  When I discovered this back in April, I spent some time trying to come up with new names, either for Eireen and Ena, or for Edric.  Unfortunately nothing seemed to fit (and all of their names have been set in my head for so long) so I resigned myself to that mix-up.

And then I discovered that I HAD renamed Edric some time ago.  I still have the map I’ve called “test room” with all the characters standing around in it (it’s the map I used to take the picture of all the Memories characters). And if you talk to Edric, his dialogue said “I was Edric but now my name is Godric.”

😲

I checked out the meanings of both “Edric” and “Godric” on Behind the Name (I love that site for helping me find names for characters).  “Edric” means “wealth, fortune” and “ruler” while “Godric” means “God’s ruler” (the “ric” in both names means “ruler”).  From that alone, “Godric” seemed like the better name for the character, since he is a wizard who has power over the fortunes of humans, while also an admired or influential person (two of the definitions provided by Oxford).  So I went into Memories and officially changed his name within the game to Godric.  Thinking of him as Godric does feel weird though since he’s been Edric for so long, but I know I’ll get used to it.

(While looking back through this blog’s archives for the game, I actually found when I renamed him.  But I guess that information never made it into my paper notes, and I didn’t correct the picture with all the characters’ names, so when I started working on the game again, he just became Edric).

Other than the name difficulties, EdricGodric has been one of the easiest characters out of the whole game to find a voice for.  Like Alexis, Alea, Albert, and Wulfric, Godric is one of the pre-made RPG Maker VX Ace characters.  And from the moment I looked at his portrait, I just knew what he would sound like.  Yes, I have made some changes to his dialogue here and there (especially when certain words and phrases end up claimed by other characters), but I’ve always been able to find a way for him to say things that sounds authentically “him” (lol, at least I hope I have!)  Which is a really good thing, since he’s the antagonist, and his voice really matters! 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Playtesting!

I’m almost done Memories!

After doing my best to find voices for my characters (Wulfric and a few others are still giving me some trouble, but I *hope* I’ve done well enough with them), I started doing some final playtesting before I plan on releasing the game on itch.io. I thought the playtesting would just be a few playthroughs to mainly check all the dialogue as a complete whole (thanks to implementing different dialogue choices within the game, it does mean I’ll have to do at least 4 different playthroughs for dialogue alone).  But I ended up finding quite a few little bugs, as well as a few bigger ones, that need to be fixed.  So I’ve been making my way through all of that (with a break to finish reading Elizabeth Bear’s Jacob’s Ladder trilogy).  Playtesting will be continuing this week (along with some more editing work by the looks of things).

Oh, I’m also really excited to finally have a proper name for Memories!  I think I’m going to call it Of Pieces and Memories.  When I gave it to my friend to try, I’d tentatively called it Hearts and Memories, but that didn’t sound right to me, even though it is, at it’s very essence, what the game is about.  I considered several lines of dialogue as possible titles (like “Just trust your heart,” which resonates with me every time I read it during a playthrough), but nothing seemed right.  Then over the weekend, I realized that a lot of the dialogue revolves around pieces of hearts, which is how I decided on the title.  I ran it by my friend, too, and he approved as well. 🙂

How about you? How’s everything going? Stay safe! 🙂

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Finding a Voice for Wulfric

Wulfric sprite and face graphics

Wulfric

Meet Wulfric, the huntsman from Memories.  Wulfric was unique out of the whole cast of Memories characters because I just couldn’t get a feel for his character.  Like Alexis, Alea, and Albert, Wulfric was one of the pre-made RPG Maker VX Ace characters (he’s the one I always seem to use for huntsmen-type characters).

When I was originally choosing the characters for Memories, I decided that there should be a huntsman character of some sort.  My reasoning was that Memories is fairy-tale like in many ways, and fairy tales often have a huntsman in them.  And that was it; like so much of Memories, I really didn’t have much of a plan and just kind of went with everything that came to mind.

Wulfric was always one of the first characters that the player got to see, but that was pretty much the extent of his role in the game.  He’s the one who found the avatar (player character) wandering around and brought her to the house where everything takes place.  Once he did that, he disappeared from the game entirely.  When I figured out an ending for Memories, I added him into it, just to make him more present in the game (plus it seemed fitting that he was at both the beginning and the end of the game).  But I was never sure if it was fitting that he was there, rather than someone else.  But it did put him into the game more, so I figured I might as well leave it as him for now.

Once I started working on the characters’ voices though, I knew I had a big problem with Wulfric.  I couldn’t get a feel for him.  His role was more important than Alexis, so I didn’t think I should cut him from the game (and if I did, I don’t know who could have replaced him.  So I needed to figure out what his character was like, including why he is here (and why Edric would have hired him since he has no family connections to any of the other characters).  I found this article on A Writer’s Perspective that talked about the importance of medieval huntsmen; while I admit that this was the extent of my research, it sounded good enough for my purposes, and underscored how Wulfric would have been an important part of the household.

But it still didn’t help me with his voice.  I started thinking more about what his character might be like.  I came up with some ideas, like how he’s a loner, and how he butts heads with Albert, the butler (Albert doesn’t like that Wulfric is able to do whatever he wants outside of the house; Albert likes to think of himself as in charge of everyone).  But that didn’t really help me in terms of how he sounded.

And then I stumbled on this graphic thanks to Pinterest, which talks about minor character development.  In the point about character voice, it mentioned that some characters talk in short sentences; that ended up being the key to finding Wulfric’s voice!

Once I had a tentative feel for what his dialogue would be like, I started implementing it, playing around with it until it sounded right to me.  I also added him to the game a bit more; in one of the rooms there were wood piles that were supposed to increase as time went on, implying his presence.  Instead I explicitly put him either in the entrance way or around the wood piles in the house to show that he’s actually bringing stacks of wood in.  This also helped with another problem: I realized that there was nothing happening at the front door when you went  there (originally there was supposed to be a small scene with the wizard, but it wasn’t triggering). Now Wulfric and his piles of wood block the way so you can’t get to the doors to leave.

With that done, I then had to decide if he was the one who should show up at the end or not.  I ultimately decided that job should fall to someone else, and so Adalyn (Lyn, the housekeeper) took over from him.  I’m happy with this change; it seems like a much more fitting role for Lyn. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Still Working on Character Dialogue

Hey everyone, just a quick update.  I’m still plugging along on Memories.  I’ve still got one minor character who is giving me a hard time, but hopefully I’ll be able to get him sorted out soon.  I also still need to come up with a better title for the game (which will be tough – titles and naming things is not easy for me).

But in other (non writing news), I finished reading Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle last night.  It feels so good to be done (especially since those books are huge! I could have read 2 to 3 regular sized books instead).  I’m looking forward to switching to another genre now (I’ve got a science fiction series that I need to reread a few books before reading the final book, so that’s probably what I’ll be reading next).

How about you? How’s everything going?  Stay safe everyone. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Working Through Memories Character Dialogue!

Over the last week I’ve slowly been feeling like I can cope with things better.  I’m able to concentrate on things a lot better than I was, which in itself is a huge help; I’ve been able to slowly get back to working on things.

It started with doing a quick edit of a friend’s story.  He’s been working on this story on and off for awhile.  I got his permission to have at it with editing, which was actually a lot of fun (it’s fun to edit fiction). 🙂  From there, I was able to get back into the editing contract I’m still working on (the whole project is taking much longer than everyone originally thought it would, so everyone is working on it when they have the chance).  So that’s been good.

I’ve also gotten back to Memories.  As my concentration is returning, I’ve started working a bit more on the characters.  I rewrote the dialogue in some of the cut scenes to differentiate some of the characters’ voices (that’s still a work in progress, as I’m dealing with the main characters, but it’s coming along).  Then yesterday I worked quite a bit on the more minor characters.  Unfortunately the program crashed on me and I lost some of those edits; I took that as a sign that I need to stop working on things for the night.  While the dialogue won’t be the same as what I had, I’ll rework it later this week (thank goodness I made some notes on paper!)

So how’s everything going for you?

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#WriteTuesday – Memories Feedback Acquired!

My friend playtested Memories over the weekend!  Overall he liked it (he called it a “nice, heartful story”). 🙂  He found a few mechanical things I needed to fix, like how locked doors would open, display the text “the door is locked” then close (he helped me fix that!) and how the ending was a bit weird because after the credits it said “Game Over;” together we figured out that you could send the game back to the Title instead of using the Game Over command, so I’ve implemented that instead.

He also said he really liked how you get more and more dialogue options with NPCs as you unlock more emotions, so I’m super glad I got some of that implemented before he playtested!

So since then, I’ve been working on implementing more of those dialogue choices.  I think I’ve got pretty much everything in place now (there are still a few places where there isn’t a dialogue choice, but I don’t really think they’re needed).

Over the weekend I also noticed a problem with my naming scheme for all the characters.  Here are their names again:

Picture of Memories NPCs with names

When I designed this, I tried to have people who were related to each other have names with the same starting letter.  I thought I did a good job of this, but I just noticed that the wizard name (Edric) starts with an E, just like my mother daughter combo of Eireen and Ena! 😦  Unfortunately, these names are kind of ingrained in my head now; I took a look last night and couldn’t find anything else that worked for any of them.  So in the end I decided to leave them as is.  Whoops!

So now that the dialogue choices are all in place, I need to actually go back and make sure the dialogue works for each character (and that each character actually has their own voice).  Once that’s done, I think Memories just needs a better name then it’s pretty much finished! 😲

So how’s your week been?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Beginning Edits on Memories

writing subtext cover

Seriously, this book is fantastic! I really recommend it. 🙂

Over the weekend I finally read the book Writing Subtext: What Lies Beneath by Dr. Linda Seger.  I’ve had the book for years but never got around to reading it (lol, such is the story of my life).  But now seemed like a great time to read it – I was hoping it might help me improve the dialogue within Memories.  Writing Subtext ended up a really great read – even as I was reading it I had all kinds of ideas for what I could do.  Unfortunately now comes the hard part: actually implementing all of those changes into the game.  I’ll hopefully be going over all the dialogue during the next bit to clean things up and start layering in some subtext to the story. 🙂

On top of that, I decided I’m going to implement something I considered a few years ago when I first started working on Memories: I’m going to add some branching dialogue options as you unlock more memories (and the corresponding emotions).  So once you’ve unlocked the second emotion, you’ll now have two dialogue options with NPCs, rather than just the one I originally came up with.  I started implementing this yesterday and got quite a bit changed already.  So I uploaded the new game files for my playtesting friend.  I haven’t heard back from him yet, so this is perfect; hopefully he hasn’t started playtesting yet and will be able to try the newer version instead!

So how’s your week been?  🙂

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