R.P.G.

No longer are those initials shorthand for Roleplaying Games, or Rocklet Propelled Grenades!

My good friend, and one of my awesome DMs, has started his own Blog! Go read, enjoy, and have fun.

Now back to your regular scheduled programming….

I’ve been all over the place, mentally, for the past week. I’ve not had many coherent thoughts to streamline into an interesting read, so instead, I shall leave an excerpt from something I’ve been working on during my hunt for employment.

Enjoy!

——————

“What are you doing here, Matthews?” I glanced to the slow drawl of a male voice. Detective Joshua Boulliard stood behind the yellow crime scene tape, holding a cup of coffee.

Boulliard looked rough. On a given day, I could count that Boulliard would be wearing a pristine white shirt, neatly pressed, with a monochrome tie, clean shaven and dark brown hair neatly combed into place. All in an annoyingly perfect manner that would make most girls swoon. Today, he was far from that image. His black tie was pulled loose, the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up past his elbows, and his hair looked like he had run his hands through it more than once.

I smiled in his direction. “Heard that something went down. Thought I’d check it out.”

He didn’t return the smile; his hazel eyes shadowed by whatever was on his mind. “No one’s missing. So run along home.”

“I have every right to be here, Boulliard.”

“Trust me, Yumi. You want to let this one go.”

It was a dark and stormy night…

I love writing cliches. They can be fun and interesting, even if they are used sometimes a bit too often. It really depends on how they are inputted into the story. Take for instance, “It was a dark and stormy night.” It does its job. It tells you that it was both dark and stormy that night, but by itself, it’s dull. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used. It just needs a tweak, or two.

The rain hammered on the hood of the car as Edmund wiped away the condensation from the interior of his windshield. It did little to improve his vision, seeing little more than the endless black stretch of street and sky. If it was not for the occassional flash in the sky, Edmund would not know where the street ended and the nightsky began.

The above is just a variation of “It was a dark and stormy night,” but it engages the reader more, and it does more than just tell you about the night. That’s why cliches can still be fun and great to use.

So tell me, what are some of your favorite writing cliches?

Honorable Mentions

I’ve already discussed my three largest passions in fandoms: Star Wars, Mass Effect, and the X-Men.

Here are a few that I adore, but didn’t quite make the list.

buffy_logo

There’s more than just a little love for this blonde vampire hunter from me. I came to this party, like most, late. I did not start watching until FX started running the show in syndication, and then I wondered how the hell had I missed this gem? It came at the perfect time in my life though. I was struggling with family issues, college, and my sanity in general, and here was a show that I could watch, just for me, that I could identify with. Who cares if it had a Monster of the Week format? The metaphors behind the problems spoke to me, and I honestly don’t know if I could have gotten through my Sophomore and Junior years of college without this show.

angel_logoNow, anyone who knows me, they know I hated the Buffy/Angel relationship. I loathed it. I despised it. I wanted Angel dead, dusted, and gone forever.

But I loved his television show. His character, once separated from my beloved Buffy, was suddenly likeable to me. He was surrounded by an exceptional cast, and I really could not get enough Fred/Wesley in that show. (Oh, how I hate you Joss…) There were terrible season arcs; I cannot or will not deny that, but this show had an amazing way to show the grey of the world. Where Buffy captured most issues in black and white, Angel explored that murky in between area.

Plus, Smile Time Angel.

logo2The little kid in me is jumping up and down in glee over just seeing that logo right now. Mainly because I used to watch the movie, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, a lot. That’s probably understating how much I watched it too. I loved that movie. It was fun, it had a great opening song, and there was just something magical about it. To this day, I can load that movie into my DVD player and just giggle and enjoy it. It has not tarnished with time, like so many other of my childhood cartoons.

elflogo2

This is probably my most obscure fandom. I cannot find anyone who watched this is a child, but it literally is my favorite childhood cartoon. It was a short little hour long movie that my parents somehow got for me. I don’t know where or how, but I remember it was my favorite. There were elfs, pixies, sprites, and they were in charge of nature with their magic wands. It was a short little romp about a kidnapped wand and imprisoned elf, and the daunting rescue of both. Again, I watched this again (thanks to my husband finding a copy for me), and I was transported back. It’s one of those movies that I cannot wait to show my children.

goonies

Hey, you guys!

Really, nothing needs to be said about why this is an all-time favorite of mine.

 

Well, I think that should give you an insight into the crazy world that is my brain. There are so many other things that I could have included, but I wanted to try and keep this brief.

If you have any questions, or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Also, any requests or suggestions for topics, I’ll be glad to listen.

My Lonely World

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have many friends. Not people that I would actually call up for help and confide in. I know a lot of people. You can’t be in my line of work and not know people, but I don’t trust most of them. People lie. People cheat. People sometimes aren’t actually people, but the monsters under your bed. So when I find someone who I think I can call a friend, it hurts when you realize that maybe you were wrong.

I’ve been in over my head for months now. I don’t know what’s real and what’s fantasy. I’m shocked when I can get to sleep at night without the use of alcohol or drugs, which to be fair, most nights I can manage without. But there are nights, when I’ve seen shit that I can’t shake from my mind. Those are the nights that I really need my friends, especially the ones that understand more of this fucked up world that we are in. Or when realization sinks in that you’ve been friendzoned by that one guy.

Except, like I said, maybe we aren’t really friends.

Friends trust each other. I was trying to figure out how to broach that whole mystery surrounding Sean with her. That says a lot. I don’t trust anyone with that information, but I thought I could bring it to her. But, instead, she’s made me second guess myself. After all, she made it clear that I don’t understand anything in the world, and I don’t. I’m not sure how much I want to understand.

Fuck.

I’m just going to go back to being business. Strictly business.

Oh, Joss …

agents-of-shield-logo

Like so many of my geek friends, I have been watching ABC’s new drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Before the show started, I knew I had to watch it. Not only was it part of the rich Marvel universe that has been grown in the movie industry, known as the MCU, but it was also a new Joss Whedon show. I’ve might not gotten to my honorable mentions for fangirling, but here’s a hint, anything Joss Whedon, I adore. So, a spin-off of the Avengers (kind of) for TV, brought to us by Joss Whedon? My Tuesday nights at 8pm were solidly booked at that point.

So, here we are three weeks into the show, and I find myself at a pause. There’s something that just is not working for me in this show. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t love it. Not the way I love Buffy, Angel, or Firefly. The plot of the episodes are fun, creative, and entertaining, but that’s the story of what is going on. It’s the characters that are more lacking for me, which is hard to say about any other Joss show (apart from maybe parts of Dollhouse and the intentional lack of character that they intended for certain characters). Here I am, three weeks in, and I know almost nothing relevant or compelling about these characters. Certainly nothing that makes me want to care about them.

There’s Melinda May, the obviously talented yet scarred secret agent who has demonstrated the same emotional and character depth as one of the mind-wiped dolls on Dollhouse. She wants to avoid combat, but is known as “the Calvary”. She has expressed little emotion, other than disdain, throughout every episode.

Next, the twins, as I like to call them, Fitz and Simmons, who half the time I can’t recall which is which. They have the most actual personality of all the people on the show, but they also get the least amount of screen time. They are from all appearances, crazy smart, but we aren’t getting any interaction with them to see who they are beyond that. Hard to get invested in characters that you aren’t getting a chance to see.

Then we get to the merry threesome at the center of the show: Skye, Ward, and Coulson.

Skye and Ward are doing a merry little dance that is ultimately going to lead to them falling for one another. It’s written plain as day for anyone to see. Except, I don’t really care if they get together. At this point, all they have done is tell me that Skye is this amazing super hacker, who is also an orphan and a drop out, but she’s always looking great for someone who lived out of her van at the start of the show. Then there’s Ward, who has no personality, and it feels forced every time he tries to “be human” in attempt to connect with Skye in a way that she would understand. His whole story about how his bad older brother used to beat him up because him or his younger brother wanted cake, and that being the whole reason why he became a secret super spy that kills people when necessary and has to work alone? A bit far-fetched, just a tad. It was like the writers were told that Ward wasn’t connecting with the audience, so they came up with this elaborate reason why he has to protect people, which serves no function as to why that transcended from protecting his family to fighting to protect the world. I’m not able to make that leap with them as to how something so small could make him make such a huge choice. (Unless they forgot to mention that his brother was actually a super villain in training, and then hey, that would work. But that’s the kind of information they need to tell us so that we understand the gravity of standing up to one’s older brother.)

The worst part about Skye and Ward is that the relationship is likely doomed, by one of their ultimate betrayals. I’m betting on it being Ward; mainly, due to the fact that the signs are screaming at us to not trust Skye. However, it’s a Joss Whedon show. Any romance, no matter how much they love each other, is going to be doomed in some way.

Finally, there’s Coulson. Many people love and adore Coulson, but that comes more from his existence in the extended MCU rather than the show. He’s had the most “characterization” of any of the others, but it is limited at focusing back to his “death” during the Avengers movie. Whether he was killed and revived, cloned, replaced by a robot, we don’t know, but his character hinges on everything we were supposed to know already. He’s “rusty”. That’s all we’ve been told. It makes it hard for me to latch onto him. He’s not progressing.

None of the characters are really progressing. None of them are showing us really their internal struggles. They all feel weak and shallow, and I don’t know why. Joss has many times been able to show the internal struggle, rise, and fall of characters through monster of the week programming, and it worked brilliantly for those shows. Here though, it doesn’t.

The most interesting characters we’ve seen have been Maria Hill, Nick Fury, and Mike Peterson (played by J. August Richards in the first episode). Of all those, only Mike Peterson has been written solely for this show. I felt for Mike Peterson when he was on. I don’t feel for these other characters. Yes, it’s only three episodes, but that’s 120 minutes that I’ve given to these characters. They need to give something back.

I’ll keep watching. I hope this is just the growing pains of finding their voice, and that in the next few episodes, these people will be more like actual characters. That they will show me this, rather than just kind of tell me. (I mean, come on, the super hacker goes in undercover to a guarded fortress so that she can find a wireless signal, activate a device, and let someone else hack the system?) Perhaps we’ll even get more tiny cameos, like we got with Nick Fury in episode 2.

Thoughts, comments, questions? Share them with me.

The Uncanny, Amazing, Outstanding, and Excellent

Once again, I must apologize for the delay. I had a rough past few weeks, which should not have kept me from my job of writing this post. So, without further ado, I shall go straight into my last favorite fandom.

X-Men_logo.svg

I would love to say that the fandom is all encompassing, including Marvel and the MCU, as it is often referred to now, but as much as I enjoy the new Marvel movies, my fan girling is still highly limited to The X-Men, and various X-title comics that I read growing up.

It all started for me when I was about 10 years old. I stumbled across this amazing Saturday morning cartoon that I had to watch after one episode. It had action, comedy, drama, and such a diverse cast of characters. I was in love with it. My mind raced trying to absorb all the information that I could from the show. Since I was all of 10, when I went with my father to our favorite local gaming store (The Green Dragon), I wouldn’t stop talking about it to anyone I thought would listen, and I was soon in possession of not only the comics for this cartoon, but also the main comics for the X-Men, and an X-Factor comic book.

It was such a sweet down hill ride from there.

This world was so rich, and I was quickly becoming attached to a few characters (Gambit and Havok). As I devoured more of this world, my brain generated its first real character. She was someone who would fit in this world, with little adaptation to the actual stories, and I could create these stories in my head for her that I would play out: in my mind’s eye, with various toys, and eventually with other like-minded friends who were enthralled with this universe.

Even as I got older, I never really forgot about my love for this universe. I have had it tested, with bad movies, and having to give up the comics as they went off the rails, from what I wanted. I have lost friends who I used to enjoy this with, which gives some memories a strong bittersweet moment to it. I’ve never forgotten my first character: Lex. She’s there, forever. She’s evolved, changed, and adapted, but she’s there, and she’s never left me. (For those of you who know me, and know my love of other genres, this is in reference to the original Lex.)

In the end, this is likely where I have learned to be so harsh on characters. I don’t accept a character on face value, in any medium, especially female characters. I want there to be depth, and purpose, and reason. I want the characters to be flawed, and to make the tough choices, even if I won’t like them for it. There are so many characters that I have such strong opinions on from those days, still, because that was what those writers did. I could write a long diatribe about why I dislike Rogue, attributing her hypocrisy and the artistic representation that she was given. I could list all the reasons why Cyclops is (or was when I was reading the books still) the quintessential X-Man, of all the people that have been members of the team. Along the way, I could also through out a 1001 jokes about the universe that most people would never get, but I would laugh, and so would those people.  (That’s what happens when you spend your Saturday nights on the phone with a friend, RPing the X-Men. Because that was the best option in the world pre-internet.)

At the end of the day, I want to play X-Men again. The closest I’m getting is that I’m running a Mutants and Masterminds game for my table every other Friday. It’s fun, and it is certainly tapping into my love of X-Men. I’m also toying around with an idea for a story, but we’ll see where that goes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the insight into the things that I love, even if I tried to keep them brief. Please feel free to post comments, suggestions, and questions.

Also, I have a friend who is currently looking for submissions for a writing contest. His game Legends of Adventure is coming out soon, and he is looking to flesh out his website with some biographies for heroes and creatures in his game. If anyone is interested, please feel free to drop a line to staff@legendsofadventuregame.com with the subject “Bio Contest”. Entries should be between 100 and 200 words.

Until next time!