Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Writin' Nerdy.

So, yeah.

As the title implies, I'm feeling kinda nerdy this morning- mostly due to the fact that I actually wrote an in-depth literary analysis of a video-game. Yes, you heard me correctly... a video-game.

(You're probably thinking, oh no, she didn't. But I did, and I still can't believe I went there).

For those of you not familiar with the game: Wizard101 is an all-ages RPG, in which wizards of all ages learn powerful spells and battle enemies (or each other, if PvP is your thing) in turn-based combat. If Harry Potter and Yu-Gi-Oh had a love-child, this would totally be it.

In the tutorial zone, you meet the game's primary bad-guy, Malistaire Drake- he's a former professor of the Ravenwood School of Magical Arts, who's trying to steal the Krokonomicon (which, in case it's not obvious, is the Necronomicon), in order to control life and death. Around level 12, the player learns that Malistaire's wife, Sylvia (also a former Ravenwood teacher), died of a nasty cold some years ago, and that the Krokonomicon is the only way he can bring her back to life.

(Not sure that's romantic or not, but hey... the sentiment is there, right?)

Unfortunately, the whole process involves awakening a rather-large and angry dragon, with potentially-disastrous results; the player then embarks on a series of quests, in order to recover the Krokonomicon and prevent the destruction of... well, everything. The arc culminates with Malistaire and the player(s) facing off in combat; upon defeat, he is reunited with Sylvia in death, and you receive a crap-ton of rewards from the Headmaster. Even if it didn't quite go as planned, all's well that ends well.

(Quite romantic, actually, if you're willing to ignore the whole angry-dragon-let's-kill-everyone thing. But I digress.)

After that, the Headmaster sends players to yet another new world, in pursuit of a new baddie... Her name is Morganthe, and she's this cool-looking goth chick with spiderweb wings and a closet to die for! Unfortunately, her character lacks any sort of personality or motivation thus far, which has drawn the ire of a number of players, as is implied in the comment below:

[name redacted] wrote:"Storyline is getting worse? I find this hard to believe. It's even the same as Malistaire: An evil Wizard wants to conquer/destroy Spiral. It's up to you, the Wizard, the Champion of Ravenwood, to put an end to their doings! You must battle them and their henchmen across many worlds before you reach them! But, do you have what it takes to best this mighty foe?"
Being the avid reader/writer that I am, I disagree... and here's why:

"Good vs. evil (world domination, especially) is one of the most cliché plot devices ever. It's been overdone, burnt to a crisp, and cooked for 15 minutes more, a zillion times; the premise is the same, but the difference between a great story and a just-okay one lies in characterization.

The Malistaire arc was extremely well-written, and so beautiful in its twistedness. He didn't want to take over the Spiral, so much as he wanted Sylvia back- that alone made him so much more than the average, cookie-cutter Disney villain; in fact, I hesitate to use the word villain at all, because I don't think he was one.

Grief and anger are selfish, and very human, emotions- the line between what's right and wrong becomes blurred, and the little details (the Dragon Titan destroying the Spiral) get lost in the big picture (bringing Sylvia back). So, while he thought he was doing the right thing, he wasn't completely aware of the consequences... and who doesn't have blinders on, when it comes to love? As a "reader", I was emotionally-invested in the story and the characters; like a brilliant novel, I didn't want it to end.

On the other hand, Morganthe is just an outline, a sketch of a character with the potential to be awesome, but who has failed to deliver thus far. I haven't bonded with her at all, because I don't know what her motivations are- why is she "evil", or is she? What are her reasons, for doing things the way she does? Right now, it's just a big guessing-game... and not in a good way."

(Fellow writers, take note- there is such a thing as leaving too much to the imagination).


I may be reading (bad pun intended) too much into this. So I'm gonna go and play my game now... enjoy it for the fluff that it is,  and stop conducting literary analyses in the forums.

*slinks away and puts on wizard-hat*

Until death do us part (or not),
El Veeb

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Blog Is Back: a Field-Guide to Necromancy.

Yep. After a months-long hiatus, caused in equal parts by me looking for work, nerding it up, and otherwise running around like a headless chicken, NSN has returned... with some great news (that doesn't involve me raising the dead).

After a few minor setbacks, my book-review is up! Even better, its author (the wonderful and talented Laurie Glenn Norris) emailed me, to say thanks. Well, thank you, Laurie- the book was a pleasure to read!

Until next time,
El Veeb

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Because Reality Sucks Harder Than Fiction.


A lovely, snowy night here in Moncton... so magical, and as sparkly as that pansy vamp Cullen's backside out there! Feel free to poke out my eyes, for making a Twi-hard reference at 5 am, but to my credit, it's 5 am...

Great news: the spring issue of ArtsEast will be out shortly! I'll post a link to my book-review when the issue is released online.

Good news: Not-So-Novelist has a desk job again- great, since all aspirinng writers should have one of these. Unfortunately, it also means that I'll have to delay putting a down-payment on my island villa in the Bahamas. Darn, and double darn.

Bad news: Deborah Carr's 4-week-long creative nonfiction seminar has ended. I've never considered writing a memoir before now, but I sort of like the one I started writing in her class... I could be onto something here!

However, something's been on my mind recently... therefore, I leave you with this crappy drawing (click the picture to see a larger version):

Signing off,
El Veeb

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Not-So Novelist Returns!

Hi, everyone- long time, no post.

It's been a rather-boring winter and, between rewriting my lost novel and fixing my modified-vampire sleep schedule, let's just say that I've been more than a bit occupied these days. I'm just glad that the whole mess is over, and that there are some wonderful writerly events coming up next month.

February 4-25th: local author Deborah Carr will be hosting a workshop series at the Riverview Public Library, for only $55/session. Yours Truly will be there as well, so those of you in the Moncton area should join in the fun.

February 8th: the Ottawa-based Canadian Conference of the Arts comes to Moncton! National Director Alain Pineau will be speaking about the federal government's perspectives on the arts and the future of the CCA, amongst other interesting topics, at the city hall. It's free, so check out their website for more info.

February 16th: Not-So Novelist celebrates her 25th birthday. I hereby declare this to be National Writers' Day, and the new stat holiday, since v-day sucks (and just who do you think comes up with all of those cheesy v-day cards, anyway? Hint: it's not your mom).

ArtsEast, a trendy new magazine based out of Nova Scotia is also looking for writers. Yours Truly has, of course, applied and will hopefully hear back soon. More on that later.

Good day to you all!
El Veeb

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Computer!

Happy belated new year, all!

I suppose it's worth mentioning that my old computer met its maker over the Christmas holidays- cause of death was hard drive failure and, due to an external hard drive that didn't back up what it was programmed to, I lost my NaNoWriMo novel and about 25 pages of a short story I'd been working on. I'm a bit bummed about it, but otherwise okay- hey, the thing probably needed a rewrite anyway.

I also found out that, while I was computer-less, my query letter was featured on QueryDice, a critiquing blog run by literary agent Lauren Ruth. Naturally, it was horrible- she basically told me that I had no idea what I was doing (and, looking back, I probably didn't), but I respect her all the more for it. Hey, if you're going to tell me that my proposal sucks, then I'd like to know why.... There just isn't enough honesty in this world anymore.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Merry Times In The Maritimes.

Why, hello there!

As usual, the title is a perfect segue into this morning's post. My new WFNB profile is finally up and running, and I've just received word of yet another wonderful workshop with the amazing Donna Morrissey.!

This one starts at 10 a.m. on December 3rd at the Moncton Lions' Club; you'll need only $85, some stationery, and a smile. :) If you're a writer in the Moncton/Dieppe/Riverview area, and are looking for an excuse to leave your attic/cubicle/kitchen chair, come on out and join the writerly festivities.

Signing off,
El Veeb.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Victory, & The Bitter End.

Good evening, all! I interrupt this blog-post with a very-special announcement...


*shifty eyes*

That's right, everyone. Nineteen days and 50,512 words later, my NaNoWriMo journey is over- at least until next year. Best get plotting, and celebrating this well-deserved end to an otherwise-crappy week. In the meantime, I think I'll give my hands a break and get back to drinking my wine... Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming!

El Veeb.

/youthful enthusiasm