#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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Goodbye Alexis :(

Last night, while I was working on Memories, I came to the realization that the character Alexis wasn’t needed.

Alexis sprite and face graphic

Alexis

Alexis was the daughter of Albert (the butler), and Adalyn (or Lyn, the housekeeper), as well as the sister of Alea (the cook).  I used one of the pre-made characters within RPG Maker for her (as well as Albert and Alea; Lyn was made using RPG Maker VX Ace’s character generator).  Her character was created when I was trying to round out the number of servants within the house, and at the time it made sense for her to be related to the servant family.

But when I was really thinking about Memories yesterday (and specifically what character from the servants should be in the final cutscene), I realized that there’s no real reason for Alexis to be in the game at all.  She served as someone that you brought an item to partway through the game, but that was all she actually did; that function could very easily go to someone else, and probably should, as the other characters do far more for the story.  I was sad about this; I had just figured out her character and how she would speak over the last few days (and I liked her – she  was upbeat and friendly).  But she had to go in service to the overall story and game.

Removing her actually helped me with another character too (her mother, Lyn), who just disappears through most the game. I always assumed Lyn was offscreen in one of the areas you unlock later, which works but seems kind of weak.  Having Lyn take over for Alexis makes her far more present within the game.

Thankfully removing Alexis from Memories was relatively easy.  All I had to do was change up a few bits of dialogue, and a spot where Lyn appeared in the kitchen, which ended up easier than I expected (I just used Alea for that part instead, which also strengthens the cook’s role within the game). And done!  That further cemented that removing Alexis from the game was the right thing to do; the other characters (and the game itself) are now stronger as a result.

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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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April 2020 What Are You Reading?

I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting much lately.  We had a death in the family and I’ve had a bit of a hard time coping – thanks to the pandemic, we can’t do the normal mourning things like getting together with family and friends.  My original plan was to fit in as much reading as I could, but I’ve had a harder time concentrating on stuff (and so I ended up rewatching a couple of shows, which is super unusual for me; I don’t normally watch much on my own).

That being said, at the beginning of the month, I did manage to fit in reading a few books:

Nonfiction books:

  • Writing Subtext: What Lies Beneath by Dr. Linda Seger

Fiction books:

  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini (reread)
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Now that I’m staying home thanks to the pandemic, I thought it was a great time to get caught up on reading some of my books. This seems like the perfect time to hit up the series kind of like the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy where I need to reread the first book or two before continuing.  Three series immediately came to mind that were like that for me: the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy by Elizabeth Bear, and the Elvish duology by Nancy Varian Berberick.  As you can see from what I read this month, I started with the Inheritance Cycle (mainly because they’re huge! Being home so much is the perfect time to read them!) 😉

I read the first book of the Inheritance Cycle many years ago, but wanted to wait until the other books came out so I could read them all together (but I never did get around to it before because like I said, they’re huge!)  I’m now half way through the third book, Brisingr (I’m hoping to get back to reading it soon).

Good Omens got thrown into the mix because a couple of my friends from work wanted to start a book club since we’re not seeing each other like normal.  Good Omens ended up the consensus because pretty much everyone was happy to either read (or reread) it.

I’m also trying to spend some time working on my writing, which is why I fit in reading Writing Subtext.

Now with all that preamble, my favourite book was honestly Writing Subtext.  It gave me so much to think about within my own writing (and came at the perfect time when I’m trying to fix the dialogue in Memories).  It’s a short read, but definitely worth it if you’re a writer, too. 🙂

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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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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March 2020 What Are You Reading?

I’m kind of proud of my reading this month: I finally read the entire Jeremiah Hunt trilogy by Joseph Nassise!  I read the first book, Eyes to See, several years ago, and for whatever reason, just never got around to the rest of the trilogy.  It got to the point where I didn’t remember Eyes to See very well (except that I really liked it), so I had to reread it before moving onto the newer books (that probably didn’t help me get back to the series).  So this month, I actually sat down and reread it (and it was just as good as I remembered, even though I honestly didn’t remember most of the story when I started!)

Nonfiction books:

  • None!

Fiction books:

  • Eyes to See by Joseph Nassise
  • King of the Dead by Joseph Nassise
  • Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nassise

My favourite of the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy was definitely Eyes to See.  The premise is amazing (a man’s daughter goes missing, so he trades his eyesight for the ability to see ghosts in an effort to find her), and the book was just as good the second time I read it.

I also did some major spring cleaning this month and started going through the magazines I had piled up (I have a LOT!)  I went through seven issues of The Walleye (I couldn’t believe I had that many piled up!), and read 2 Cineplex Magazines, 1 Writer’s Digest, an issue of Journey (Lakehead University’s Alumni Magazine), 1 Woman’s Day, 2 First Magazines, and about 8 old Canadian MoneySavers.  Ive still got a bunch more to go (mostly more Writer’s Digests and Macleans, which I didn’t even get to this month), but I felt pretty magazined-out by Tuesday and needed to take a break from them.

So what about you?  Have you read anything good over the last month?

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#WriteTuesday – Memories Has an Ending!!!!

Hey everyone, how are you holding up amidst this pandemic?  I haven’t been feeling well over the week and so have been staying home.  I started reading through some old magazines I’ve had sitting around for awhile (more about that on Thursday!) And then I started thinking a little more about Memories.

I started with a bit of brainstorming for the ending on Wednesday.  The ending has always been the #1 problem for Memorieshow should the game end???  At one point I actually had the avatar character and antagonist saying “What now?”  “I don’t know.”  Lol, not exactly a good place to end up.  Plus the final memory was just kind of there and didn’t really add anything to the story.

My first order of business was to tackle that last memory.  I figured if I could make it a little more meaningful, that would help with the ending.  So I started working on the game on Saturday afternoon.  By the early evening, the final memory was cleaned up and functioning.

So that left the ending.  I kept working with the dialogue a bit (I also had to laugh – some of the stuff I brainstormed earlier in the week were already implemented into the game when I last worked on it – I guess they were really good ideas!).  For a lot of this I had kind of a vague idea of where to take things.  Then by about 10pm I had it: an actual workable idea for an ending implemented into the game! 🙂

From there it took me about two hours to get everything working.  I thought everything was okay until I ran through the game and the ending seemed to just freeze with nothing happening.  I tried everything to get the new end stuff to trigger.  Just when I was about to give up for the night, I realized what was wrong: I had the new events set to “Action Button” (meaning the player had to walk up to them and click on them to activate them) instead of them playing automatically with “Autorun.” Once I switched them to autorun, everything started working properly (which let me run through it a few times to make sure everything actually was running as I intended).  From there, I built a short movie for the end credits, and Memories was ready for playtesting!

A friend of mine (who also likes to make games with RPG Maker) agreed to test it on Sunday.  So now I’m waiting on his feedback before doing anything more (…although in the meantime I may go back over the dialogue to make sure all the characters sound right…)

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#WriteTuesday – Wading Through Old Notebooks

Over the weekend, I visited my parents and we watched Gone in 60 Seconds (the newer one, with Nicholas Cage), a movie none of us had seen in awhile.  Part way through it, I was reminded of some old characters that I’d created many, many years ago, but I couldn’t remember their names.  So after I got home, I went on a quest through some of my old notebooks, wondering if I could find anything on them.

I haven’t actually looked at any of my old notebooks for quite some time.  I’ve scanned a few of them (which I have not looked through for those characters yet), but the others are sitting in a bin in the basement, still waiting to be scanned.  I wasn’t really sure where, if anywhere, information on those characters might be, so I picked a notebook at random and just started flipping through it.

The first notebook I flipped through started out as a sort of journal.  It was kind of fun to go back and flip through my thoughts from so long ago.  The other ones were a bit more typical for me: sometimes they had thoughts about what was going on, but more often they were full of story and character ideas.  I was blown away by the amount of them that I encountered that I’d completely forgotten about!  I’ll definitely need to see about bringing some of them to life, maybe even later this week (I’m trying to stay as socially isolated as I can right now; while I’m currently doing a bit more reading and house stuff, I’m hoping that by the end of the week I’ll be writing a bit more!)

Stay safe everyone, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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#WriteTuesday – Nothing Much to Report

Hey everyone, this has been a pretty quiet week for me, so I don’t really have anything to report.  The weekend was kind of my last hurrah for winter (one more ski and snowshoe), so hopefully this coming week I’ll get back to more writing. 🙂

Hope you had a good week!

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