Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Escaping Through Air Vents, Not Just for Movies

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

I found this great blog by screen writer John August. It’s full of tips and tricks for budding writers, and it’s a fun read. I about fell out of my chair laughing when I read this:

One day, I’d love to win an Oscar. An Emmy. A Tony Award. But if all I accomplished in my screenwriting life were reducing the number of times characters climbed through air vents, I’d consider my work successful.

Mr. August contends that “air ducts are for air” and shouldn’t be used as a magical escape mechanism for characters in otherwise hopeless circumstances.

Now some may argue that people do fit in air vents, but it’s hard to disagree… It’s a silly cliché and it’s used much too often not only in movies but in games, too. I can’t count the number of times I’ve climbed through air vents in games of all kinds. Nonetheless, I don’t like to blindly dismiss concepts either. For example, there are very rare times when even climbing through ducts makes sense: AVP on the Atari Jaguar is a brilliant example. Allowing players as the alien to climb through the ducts added game play that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

It intrigues me how many Hollywood clichés have made their way into video games. I can’t help but wonder how long until video game clichés start regularly making their way into movies. I guess we’ll know the first time a movie opens with an ammo crate and a pork chop on the ground.

NaNoWriMo Starts Today!

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

It’s November 1, which makes today the first day of “National Novel Writing Month”! If you haven’t heard of it before, this is the month when the brave, the daring and the possibly insane bust out their word processors and write that novel they’ve been meaning to all their life. It’s open to anyone who feels like doing it. The only requirement is that you must write a fiction story of some sort consisting of at least 50,000 words, all of which must be entirely written during the month of November. Short of that, pretty much anything goes.

Scary as it seems, 50,000 words isn’t that much when you break it down: It’s about 1500-2000 words per day–two or three long blog posts, to put it in perspective. It’s a tough but achievable goal even for the gainfully employed. The novels aren’t judged in any way except for meeting the minimum word count, so it doesn’t matter how bad your writing is. The point is just to get it done. Surprisingly, though, quite a few of the novels written in past years have gone on to be published, including the New York Times best seller “Water for Elephants”… presumably with some serious editing after the nanowrimo event, of course. 🙂

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to participate–yeah, I know, I’d better decide soon, soon being now–but if I do, I know exactly what I’m going to write: a cheesy sci-fi novel. Didn’t see that coming, didja? 🙂