In An Attempt To Cure Writer’s Block

8 07 2015

Pen and Paper

Since finishing University a few weeks ago (and while waiting for Graduation in just over a week’s time), I have been trying to do a number of things to keep myself productive and busy. I have been looking for work, trying to come up with a career plan, writing weekly blog posts, coming up with ideas for stories and board games, reading when I can, playing games, baking cakes, volunteering at Barnardo’s and at The Dukes play in the park again. One thing though that I have wanted to continue since finishing, I have found rather hard, and that is writing stories. I like writing stories, I like all kinds of writing, and when I am in the zone, I just can’t stop. Starting is an entirely different matter however.

Darkmouth (Harper Collins - 2015)

I have kept up with my blog writing, and right now am writing a series of film reviews to be shown in a few weeks’ time, but writing large pieces of work is proving to be rather difficult. Writing big projects at University (in hindsight) was easier, as I was motivated to get the work done as best as I could, but now I need to find new motivation and am finding it hard. I am constantly coming up with ideas for projects, either it be stories, blog posts or board games, but getting round to actually doing them is what I am struggling with. Writing short stories shouldn’t necessarily be too much of a problem as they are small, quick stories to write, however, starting them is as difficult as any other project. Ideas for them are hard as they need to be concise, small, and not necessarily involve big incidents, or big things happening……….which is kind of what I like. Back in May I even came up with a plan to write at least one short story a month, but in June I (technically) did not write one.

A Cake and some Cake Pops I made recently.

I say technically; basically, last month I entered Preston’s first Short Story Slam. A writing/performing contest where writers write short stories to then read out. Writer’s need to write 3 stories of no more than 200 words that can be read in 4 minutes or less. It’s a head to head sort of thing (as far as I understand it) and I need to write 3 short stories for it. A week ago I wrote one story for it, I still have another 2 to write (at time of writing) but coming up with ideas for such a small word count I am finding tough, and even when I do have an idea, simply sitting down behind my laptop to write it is proving tricky. It was only when I had a voice going through my head telling me to write the first story that I finally did it (The Slam is at the end of July, so I still have some time). Even when it isn’t that though, writing in general (when it is not for my blog) I am finding tough. I can develop ideas quite nicely, (I prefer to do it in my head where I can visualise it, while find that writing it down can usually mean I end up leaving and forgetting about it), but that’s still not writing it.

Rory's Story Cubes: Prehistoria

In an attempt to cure what I think is writer’s block; I have started doing little exercises to get me writing again. While my mind wanders onto other ideas of approaching it, for now, this one is working. I have had Rory’s Story Cubes for over a year now. First I got a small expansion in the form of Rory’s Story Cubes: Prehistoria, but discovered using them rather hard, so I bought a copy of the base set, and was able to get going with them. To begin with I just used them as a little game to play with friends and at the Writer’s Society at University. Basically, the base set is a box of 9 dice, with each side on all the dice being a different image (54 images in total). You roll them, and then use the 9 images to make a story. It has to start with “Once Upon A Time” and can either be done as one continuous story as a group, or several stories. There are other versions of the base set and several expansions, all of which can be mixed and matched to create a diverse range of stories. Recently, I decided to use them to help me write some short stories. I use them in the same way as you normally would play with them; roll them and look at the pictures rolled (sometimes re-rolling if I can’t think of anything). Instead of telling the story to someone though, I would instead write my story in a Word Document.

Story Dice 1

I have been taking the pictures of the images I have rolled, considering possibly putting my stories online at a later date (with a photo of the dice to show what images I have to work with). I actually rather enjoy coming up with stories this way; they can be about anything and there are no restrictions as to the length of the story, nor the genre it is in. It really does help me to get back into writing short stories. While I have not done one for about a week (due to being busy with my current weekly schedule), I look forward to writing another one, and hopefully with time, be able to write some without assistance, possibly even bigger ones. Right now though, I have a Short Story Slam to enter.

Story Dice 2

GENEPOOL





REUS

13 08 2014

REUS Logo

Have you played Godus yet? I haven’t. Why? Because it’s still in early access and I don’t quite fancy playing a buggy game until it is supposedly finished to a point that it isn’t so buggy. It’s also why I have not played Folk Tale, MAIA, Prison Architect and War for the Overworld. All these are games I am eagerly anticipating to play, just not yet. But why am I talking about said games if the title suggests a 2D game with Giant Monsters in it. Well it sort of looks like games like Godus and Populous.

REUS World

REUS is a game about a world, a world that currently nothing exists, except for a group of Elemental Giants who each have the power over a certain type of land and abilities. One makes mountains and can create deserts and mines to mine (obviously) minerals. One can create oceans and sea life while another can create grass lands and fruit. Then finally there is a swamp giant who can create swamps and technology and sciences. What is basically a God Game where the giants are such entities and can create life and resources for the humans down below and provided the humans stay loyal to them, and not get to greedy, the giants and humans will stay in happiness together and some humans may join the giants unlocking new abilities for them. Although, the player has no direct control of the humans (a lot like Evil Genius) and if the humans get too greedy, they may declare war on each other, or even on the giants themselves which are not invincible. But if a race of man gets too powerful you can just destroy them, provided that you still have a giant that can?

REUS End

REUS is nicely designed and has a nice cartoony look about it and is also very colourful which is always a bonus. So even if the humans decide to go to war with each other, or sometimes you, at least it’s not all gloomy and horrible. The games mechanics are in the ability to give the peaceful/war like humans the things they need in order to survive/kill. So each giant while having maybe some similar abilities, each one does something different, and on top of that different types of region and the people that live on them require different kinds of resources. Grasslands initially require food, desert initially requires wealth and swamp initially requires Technology/Science. What do they require these resources for? Projects. As soon as a town is settled they begin building something which usually starts off quite basic and if accomplished thanks to the help of your giants, they grow in prestige (I think, it’s been a while since I last played it) and then may decide to upgrade that building into something better. By that point though, they require more resources and of different types. It is through this that they can get greedy and if you give them too much, equally so. But in order to achieve even these potential accomplishments the game introduces a system of multipliers. These are basically points in the resource system where combining certain things together will cause more abundance in those resources, and seemingly the strongest way of doing this is through the buildings themselves as they cause larger multipliers than the actions of the giants.

Reus Water Giant

The game while fun, colourful and perhaps playing in a more arcade style game than the standard RTS is also quite difficult as you need to inspire and provide for the humans, but also need to control them in some respects. But the game is very addictive and on your part you want to see the projects completed and do things to see them completed, but the multipliers aren’t as easy to complete as you think they are and can get quite frustrating as you try to use them to provide, but there is a real sense of accomplishment though when the projects are completed. And it is through such things that make me think of Godus as in that the humans create their own villages and building, and the same goes for this. And even when the humans decide to go to war, it is interesting to watch them do so. The world is beautifully animated, from the giants, to the humans, to even the plants and animals that live in the world and it is great to see so much diversity in the game, particularly from the animals themselves to the projects and if you are able to accomplish bigger ones, they lead onto even bigger ones. And if you are a game who likes accomplishments, there is an in-game accomplishment/trophy like system where in the lifespan of a single game you are able to accomplish a group of tasks you chose at the beginning of the game, that sense of accomplishment returns.

Reus Mountain Giant

REUS is an extraordinarily fun game. Addictive with a lot of replay value in a beautifully crafted, animated, colourful and even sounding world with lots to do and achieve while also trying to survive and do all of that within a predetermined amount of time with lots to unlock too, it is seriously good fun. Give it a try, I highly recommend this game (it’s both available on Steam and GOG.com, I have the GOG.com version).

GENEPOOL








%d bloggers like this: