Archive for the ‘personal’ Category
Ah, the classics.
Sonic 3 & Knuckles was the apex for me. It's just on the cusp between good solid platformer and the long downward slide into anime influence, stupid minor characters and bad 3D. The anime was already there, of course, since Sonic 2 – Super Sonic? Super Saiyan, much? (I'm glad I didn't realise that until much later; it would just have spoiled things.) But the much-improved playability and choice of characters in 3&Knux was just a ton of fun. And, of course, reminds me of carefree childhood days with the three of us playing Mega Drive in between writing and recording music and eating Chex.
I suppose I'm among the first generations for whom home computing, or at least gaming, is integral to our childhood memories.
@Suitov: @spellingwitch2 I've had an even greater idea!1! It'll be called Last Trans Standing. The winner gets their gender reassignment paid for! #
@spellingwitch2: @suitov OMG. If they hear that they will probably take you up on it. That's more like a medical procedure though. #
@Suitov: @spellingwitch2 Yes it is, but don't worry, the challenges will be so humiliating that only the truly self-hating and shameless will win. #
@Suitov: @spellingwitch2 And to make sure we show no semblance of sensitivity, the presenter shall be a drag queen! I will elevator-pitch this now!1! #
This consititutes my official claim to this idea which is an AWESOME idea and this blog post is PROOF that I thought of it first! It is © FOR EVER and I want 50% royalties when it is made and subsequently inevitably voted the best telly format ever engendered.
1 So ttly awesome, in fact, that E! Online's own link to it doesn't work, or else I would supply it. A related page.
So I was idly tweeting with another online writing enthusiast, David Ball of Ongoing Worlds…
David: (to someone else about a different writer) I think he's got multiple characters in his head
Herm: Oh boy do I know THAT feeling. :)
David: Do you have multiple personalities? Or do you just mean you write about lots of characters? Or are they both the same thing?1
Herm: My characters are a lively bunch, but when it comes down to it, everyone is certain who's the writer and who the puppets. :)
David: Have you ever known a player who uses his name for the character? I always thought that was weird.
Herm: Not as such. Known people, self included, who use character names as their screen names. Can be warning sign but not always.
Herm: I knew one guy who invented a race of super-elves and used the species name as his handle. He also really thought he was one.
David: Haha let me guess they were better and much more powerful than normal Elves? Was he a god modder?
Herm: He tried so hard not to be a powergamer while his immortal psychic swordsman interacted with everyone else's humanoids… ;)
Herm: He was a good writer and a good friend for a while but he just couldn't play a human. When he did, it BECAME an immortal elf.
David: oh god! He should have read my article about god modding https://ongoingworlds.wordpress.com/…
David: So what's the different between a god modder and a powergamer? Is it just a different term for the same thing?
Herm: Yes, as I understand them. But I've seen others say "godmodding" to mean "writing another's character w/o permission".
David: Ahhh, good point it does also mean that. Maybe i'll do a follow-up article to distinguish the two
By which time I'd already decided to do a bloggy ramble myself.
First off, and tangentially: maybe it's just because I'm an old-timer, but we always said "godmode"/"godmoding", not "godmod"/"godmodding". I always assumed the etymology2 was "someone whose character is overpowered to a degree inappropriate to the setting – like using a God Mode cheat on a video game"3. Possibly the urge to rhyme won out in popular parlance. God-mod. Mod-nod-plod-oddsbodikins.
I say I say I say, what's personal, enjoyable and best done in private?
Of course you can be a good writer and also have the powergaming flaw, just like you can be a nice person but incredibly obnoxious when you're with more than two or three people. Some of us are naturally more suited to solo writing: after all, the protagonist or antagonist of a novel can be comparatively overpowered without tripping the same Mary Sue alarm in the reader, and without having to worry about discourtesy to the other writers.
So, if writing about immortal planet-building elves is your bag, and more importantly if it's your only bag and not shared by your friends, perhaps it's best bagged in private. That way you can use both hands and it's less messy.
All the same, if someone really wants to play with others, I won't say they shouldn't. (It helps if they're into it with the right reasons or attitude, which I'll cover later.) But that does come with a certain expectation of communication, cooperation and gentlefolkly behaviour towards all writers involved.
Communication is a perennial problem in roleplaying games and I can't offer any advice beyond the obvious: do it. Do lots of it. Chat around the roleplay; chat about things you liked or didn't understand. Make yourself approachable and encourage questions or requests from others. And act on what you hear.
In extreme cases, yes, that may even mean making your precious character behave out-of-character in order not to distress another writer who may have some personal issues of his/her/their own. (If you're a good roleplayer who can think on your feet, even this can be avoided very easily. "Suddenly Cecil dropped his fork and had to stop talking for a moment." Done.)
The writer I mentioned earlier on had a degree of my own social impairment and didn't grok that. It was overridingly important to him to be true to himself, and his characters were too personal to him for an accommodation like that to be thinkable.
I think a lot of roleplaying etiquette problems stem from people taking either their characters or their writing skills over-personally.
One of the two of us is real. On balance, I don't think it's the guy with the wand of fireballs.
I've recently been involved with a fan roleplay for the first time ever. During that I've come across people with different opinions about how a character should behave. The person playing that character reacted in a very upset fashion to criticism along the lines of "I think that was out-of-character for him", describing it as the most hurtful thing it was possible to say to a roleplayer.
I don't agree with that. Between two fans of a series, what is in or out of character in any uncanonical situation is a judgement call, and just because one of the two fans is actually roleplaying the character in question, their opinion doesn't override that of someone else who likes the series. Of course, where one person's opinion does override the other is in the course of that particular roleplay – the character from the series 'belongs' to each of you, but the fan iteration of him is being played by one of you, and that's who has the final say about whether he ends up hanging from a bridge.
If you feel the game is wandering so far off track that it's no longer enjoyable for you, the other choice is to leave as amicably as possible, which the other player ended up doing. Their parting comments, although expressed fairly politely, were what caused that strong reaction from the player who felt accused of OOCness – and that strong reaction caused alarm bells for me.
As well it might. I've been guilty of the same.
Lessons can be learned. Blame can be shouldered. (With a smile!)
I'll take a fairly recent example. The vast majority of what I write and roleplay is original fiction, not fan stuff. When someone described a character of mine as (paraphrased) an arrogant know-it-all, I was very upset. Now, this could be an understandable reaction from a writer who had been trying to play the character as approachable and humble as well as highly intelligent: after all, essentially the comment signified that I'd failed to do this, which was a straightforward failure in my writing skills.
But being honest, I couldn't separate that from feeling hurt more personally. The character in question began as a bit of silly wish-fulfillment – a villainous Gary Stu, if you will. I've developed him over years into something I, while trying not to be presumptive, think is much more of a rounded and realistic fellow than he used to be, complete with healthy differences in outlook from his writer's. But still, unlike other characters of mine where I would take criticism of their personality flaws with humour and often agreement (and even secret glee that I as a writer have expressed those flaws well), with this one character there's still that bit of personal resentment that insists my friend is criticising me.
But it's a childish bit of personal resentment, and it's wrong.
It's not that I think the character's perfect – indeed he's deliberately far from it – but I suppose arrogance is an accusation that hits close to the bone for me personally. My upset was understandable, certainly, but it was wrong. And it needed putting in its place. After a bit of weeping and angsting and canvassing my other friends saying "Do I really write Suitov as arrogant, baw haw?" I got over it. I'm still not sure if I accept the criticism as it was stated, because the collective feeling was far from unanimous, but when I write the character now I bear it in mind. With any luck, Suitov is less likely to be taken as arrogant these days than he was before.
A point to all of this. I know I had one.
Pairs of things.
Authors do take their characters personally, that much is obvious, but it's (a) not a positive trait and (b) not an immutable fact. Nobody is stuck with a thin skin. Part of playing with others means, to put it brutally, jolly well blowing one's nose and growing a pair. Whether breasts, balls or whatever secondary sexual appendages we neuters get to have, when you play with others you will either end up growing a pair of something or you'll always fail to fit in anywhere without upset.
If you don't want criticism, you can always write your novel, send it off and then prepare yourself for the possible shock of your life when you hear back from the slush pile editor. That's cool. Many people work best that way. Writing solo is a different kind of writing, as we've covered above.
But, if you've chosen to roleplay with others for fun, you will need to accept the basic tenet that fun needs to be had by all writers involved.4 They're not there to carry you or stroke your ego. They're not there purely to set up really cool lines for your character to say.5 You're all there with the aim of forming a kind of gestalt lulz machine, cranking out fun and jollies for all in the vicinity.
Happy pretendy funtimes.
To finish with, I could do a lot worse than to link you all to the legendary article entitled Internet Drama and You. Even if you just skimmed my lengthy post here, I urge you to read Wade's in full. It's funnier than this one and it's written by another Deadpool fan. If that hasn't yet convinced you to read it, it also has ILLUSTRATIVE PICTURES. Come on! I mean, pictures!
1 I could deal at a bit of length with the similarities and differences between dissociative identities and being a writer, but that's not the topic of this post. I know some multiples number among my friends, so as a courtesy to me, no flaming David for his well-meaning curiosity. :) (Or, frankly, anyone.)
2 Yes, I do theorise uncontrollably about etymology. For someone lacking a classical Greek and Latin education, I'm weirdly interested in the epidemiology of words. I put this down to two of the racial flaws I took at character creation, "Half English Teacher" and "Half Geek", which infused my genes with two hefty doses of pedantry. Come to think of it, even as a toddler I wouldn't say a new word until I knew how it was spelled.
3 Wikipedia has more about God Mode and debug modes. Even modern video games use this term sometimes. The command console in Oblivion, for example, toggles god mode with "tgm".
4 But not necessarily all characters involved, of course. (Sorry, Weft.)
5 There's an element of that, of course, but Crowning Moments of Awesome, Snarkitude or Being the Universe's Butt Monkey are there to be shared – appropriately, according to character type. Two badass characters in play means two characters who both need to be given scenes that express their badassery.
My Hobby: Wryly smirking at people's obsession with homoromantic subtext, while writing three major male characters who are exceptionally guilty of it.
(To be fair, one doesn't realise it and would be appalled if he did, one is above caring about such things, and the third describes himself as omnisexual but is really just foul. With him it's not so much subtext as nobody believing a dog is really chatting them up.)
Being as how my own orientation points strongly towards the siblinghood and bromance side of things, while I'm not above flirting with the idea (especially for laughs!), the relationships I really want to write about are complicated, banter-filled, occasionally fraught or downright confusing to both participants and onlookers, but never all-sex-all-the-time.
That being said, do note what I'm very carefully avoiding denying outright, and therefore please don't take this as a cue to stop speculating or indeed writing slash fic, because that would just be no fun at all.
That's not to say some of my characters don't enjoy happy, normal romantic-sexual relationships too. Suitov is seeing Jaina, and Paraskive is cougaring (she'd slap me for that, and quite right too) a delightful postman
toy boy named Alisander. One of these relationships will end badly owing to Suitov being, well, honestly, pretty bloody idiotic for a supposed genius, and the other may be strained when their island is put under martial law, but we'll see. And among my backstory and minor characters, of course, there are plenty of successful hetero, homo and even xeno relationships. (Instarrian boys loooove them alien womens. Quite often for a price.)
There's the added complication of pairing roleplay characters up. If you pair yours off with someone else's, and they're infrequently around, it can cause frustration and slow down a plot. If you pair one of yours off with another of yours, it can become a bit like brainwanking, restricting the opportunities for other people's characters to engage with yours. I don't have an easy answer for this one. I sometimes write an NPC partner in for a character, or make it explicitly asexual or celibate, simply to avoid having to write too much about romance.
I found a really interesting article on 'camp' (as an adjective) linked in the comments of someone else's journal. I finally put some time aside to read it:
My reactions follow, all jotted as I read. You should read the article and form your own opinions first.
Now, I don't care for 'camp' as a whole, so don't expect any coherent thoughts and opinions from me here. I probably would fit in in some ways with a 'queer' (hate that word) way of looking at things, though, so I'm definitely interested to read on…
"The more we study Art, the less we care for Nature."
- The Decay of Lying
An offhand quote that caught my eye. It could be in a nutshell why I don't like art (or, rather, why I think of myself as someone who doesn't like art. The other reason being school art lessons), and why I am less and less likely to like any individual artwork the more it deviates from the strictly realistic, or at least the methodically representational.
(Yes, even if it portrays something that doesn't exist, it could have the courtesy to look right.)
As a taste in persons, Camp responds particularly to the markedly attenuated and to the strongly exaggerated. The androgyne is certainly one of the great images of Camp sensibility. [...]
Allied to the Camp taste for the androgynous is something that seems quite different but isn't: a relish for the exaggeration of sexual characteristics and personality mannerisms.
What occasioned this post was a request made to me by a writing partner a long time ago. I declined the request. You'll see why. "Ten years later" is pushing the definition of a snappy comeback, but this post is really aimed at other guys who might have this idea.
John Boy, as we'll call him, had a male character. His Vision™ for his character, he'd decided one day, included two children whom the character would raise. His request: "Mutt, will you write a female character who'll have these children for him and then hand them over?"
As it happens, the idea of writing female pregnancy gets into some deep problems for me, and I never intend to do it. I don't recall that I'd mentioned this to John Boy in the past, so he gets a free pass in this instance on the insensitivity front.
However, when I told him I would never be comfortable writing a pregnant woman, his suggestion? "Maybe she's from a species where she has to breed in order to become a neuter." OK, so… forcing a transgendered character to breed in order to line des gender up with des sex? That was insensitive. Chaps, we're all pretty smart here. Let's all agree never to suggest this to a transgendered person, OK?
Anyhow, those are my personal issues and we'll lay them aside. Now here's the response I wish I'd given all those years ago, to help John Boy understand why asking any writer to make up a woman character, in order to give your man character instant children, is somewhat on the odd side.
Actually, John Boy, my personal horror at writing pregnancy is not my only problem with this suggestion. The main issue is that you want a female character whose entire purpose in life, at least from your point of view and your plot's, is to have children.
I hope even you wouldn't remain unmoved if someone in real life were to say a woman's only purpose is to be a mother… but that's what you're asking here. I have to admit, I expected better from you.
Consider also that your gay Marty Stu is going to have to force himself to sleep with this woman – or, more likely in your universe, use hand-wavey magical insemination, so that he doesn't even have to touch her – and then he will expect her to give up the children and never bother him again. This doesn't sound like an attractive offer to any self-respecting woman.
John Boy, your offer is rejected firmly and without prejudice, and I hope if you think about what I've said you'll realise why. My advice to you is to write a frog woman and have them spawn in a pond, or, preferably, rethink the plot idea that requires a woman to bear your character two children and then disappear.
We'll leave our imaginary ten-years-younger John Boy alone now. We just gave him a lot to think about. We're older and wiser, though, so here's another point for you to ponder…
Do you know what pregnancy does to a woman's body and hormones? I don't have much idea, for the obvious reason, but I know it's huge. To take one example that might cause a particular problem with this 'plot' idea, women don't always want to give up their children.
Sound obvious? But really, they don't always, even if they were OK with the idea beforehand. This is not because women are nuts. Your mother was a woman. Everyone's mother was a woman. And that's rather the point. We humans evolved to what we are because mothers have a strong bond with their weak, helpless spawn, who remain helpless for about 6 years and weak for at least 8 more. You don't put up with a burden like that unless you love it, and this is where your hormones, leaving nothing to chance, make sure you do. Sometimes they'll go wrong or a woman will feel able to overcome the effect, but that isn't predictable.
This is why you will read in magazines about women acting as surrogate mothers, who find themselves unable to give up children they've carried for another couple. Repeat, this is not because the woman is nuts, or a liar. Chances are she had every intention beforehand of carrying through with the agreement. I doubt she really wants to bring up, on her own, the child of a man who's in a relationship with someone else. Not even for the child support payments (seriously, no woman who is in touch with reality ever gets pregnant because she thinks it'll make her rich). But you can't always help whom you fall in love with.
Conclusion: women don't always oblige by breeding and then handing over their children, even if that's what your script says.
This post only is:
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Attribution to Herm Baskerville with an optional link back to this page. (The author would prefer that you link to this post, in case de edits or improves it.)
SMALL version of dad's birthday picture. The full thing is A4 sized at 300dpi, so absolutely massive on a screen.
Finished and sent to him at 23:58 last night, so still technically his birthday…
Right, he's seen it now so I can post this. He kinda seemed to like it, sort of. And told me about some other painting of her that she's just got in the last few weeks, that one by a friend from some museum.
UK legal name change by deed poll – a DIY guide.
Nice site, so I'm doing my bit to get it up Google. If you want to change your name, do it there.
If you use this, please fix the typo in "substitution" ("subsitution") under point 1. I've notified the site owner and they're fixing it. (Now fixed.)
To-night… I'm gonna have myself… a real good name.
(There's a better title and it's just evading my grasp. Will update if it makes itself known.)
My hand, when it drops to my side, finds a puzzle:
no skullbone to stroke and no sniff of a muzzle.
No eyelash, no whisker, no cold-sweating nosey,
a cranial dearth. I'm devoid of a nuzzle.
At nights my discomfited feet huddle frozey
despite double duvet. It could be I'm dozy,
or poor circulation's to blame. I've no theory—
yet somehow my chamber is all things but cosy.
Proceeding to work unaccompanied, bleary,
in earphoney trance unaware of exteri
or stimuli. Autist. No sights worth attention.
Except ones that bounce by on leads looking cheery.
My fingerless glove by my side in suspension.
The tram station's cold-shouldered hilltop ascension.
No friend dogs my footsteps. My hearthrug is empty
except for a cat, which is all the more wrenchin'.