Ask Me Why I’d Wait For You

Ask me what I want the most,
And I’ll tell you
I want to be with you.

Ask me if I know it won’t be easy,
And I’ll tell you
I don’t mind one bit.

Ask me if I’m sure,
And I’ll tell you
I’d do whatever it takes.

Ask me why I would,
And I’ll tell you
It’s because I love you.

Ask me why I do,
And I’ll tell you
It’s because you make me happy.

Ask me how happy you make me,
And I’ll tell you
I wouldn’t wait this long for anyone else.

Ask me why I’d wait for you,
And I’ll smile
Because you already know.

I want to be with you
Because you’re worth the wait.

Happy Birthday to my best friend and adoring boyfriend! Thank you for being so wonderful! I hope to be with you again soon. I love you, sweetheart!

Video Games as Interactive Storytelling

Today’s post is dedicated to a special someone with whom I love sharing this interest. If there are two passions responsible for bringing my best friend/boyfriend and me together, they are definitely creative writing and video games. So this week, I’d like to share a bit about our experience with video games and how they appeal to us as a method of interactive storytelling. Enjoy!

Escape into a Virtual World

The major debate of their positive and negative effects aside, we all have our reasons for loving video games. As a writer, one of my personal favorites is escapism, the chance to slip into a virtual world and experience a different life for a few hours at a time. Though it’s true that one can already achieve this through other sources of fiction such as novels and movies, video games bring that experience to life in a way no other medium can. When the real world becomes too boring or stressful, sometimes it’s nice to step into the metaphorical shoes of a fictional character and take back control of life. And while that may not be the healthiest solution to our problems, it certainly provides plenty of creative inspiration.

Mario (Super Mario Bros.), Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog) and Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Mario (Super Mario Bros.), Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog) and Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Growing up, I enjoyed embarking on adventures with Mario, Link and Sonic the Hedgehog, following a linear storyline to ultimately defeat a major villain and save the world. More recently, I’ve slain dragons and undertaken quests in the fantasy world of Skyrim, which offers a much broader terrain in which I’ve gotten lost for hours on end. I’ve defied the very principles of physics in the action/puzzle game series Portal; I’ve battled rebel spaceships in the strategy game FTL: Faster Than Light; I’ve witnessed my best friend construct his own story through the choices he’s made in the sci-fi game  series Mass Effect; and we’ve both had our perceptions of reality challenged by the unique 2D/3D-crossover world of FEZ. From childhood to adulthood, my love for adventure games hasn’t changed, for not only do they provide hours of entertainment, but they satisfy my need to be told a good story.

Come for the Action, Stay for the Story

The Last of Us

Joel and Ellie (The Last of Us)

Lately, I’ve been watching my best friend play the remastered edition of The Last of Us, a sci-fi/survival/horror game set in a post-apocalyptic United States. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about this game, including the fact that it had been awarded “Game of the Year” several times over, so of course I was excited when he offered to live stream his gameplay sessions for me. He warned me going in that it would be quite the emotional ride, and I have to say that so far, he’s been proven absolutely right. From the very first cutscene, the game sets up a tragic and at times horrifying sequence of events that is bound to touch the heart of any player willing to fully engage in the plot. Though I do enjoy watching the actual gameplay, I consider the highlight of the game to be the story at its core. As much in action as in narrative, The Last of Us is indeed a video game masterpiece.

While I will give many games a try for the promise of exciting gameplay, I’m prone to lose interest if there isn’t a gripping enough story to go with it. RPGs are my favorite game genre for a reason. Adventure is about exploring, gaining experience, overcoming obstacles toward a set goal and feeling accomplishment when the final mission is complete. And what is all that if not an interactive form of storytelling?

Make Your Own Story

Although video games tend to have a set storyline that a player is obligated to follow, there is the occasional game that offers the total freedom to explore and create your own path. The best example of this is probably Minecraft, a globally popular (read: 40 million players) sandbox game that many have equated with a sort of digital Lego platform. The reason? It’s pure creation. There is no story to follow, no boss to fight (unless you count the completely optional dragon battle in The End), no kingdom to rescue. The game simply provides an assortment of mobile creatures and all the building-block resources you need to craft tools, build structures, fight monsters and basically shape the continuously generating world however you want. It’s just you and your imagination.

Steve running away from a Creeper, the iconic monster of Minecraft

Steve running from a Creeper, the iconic monster of Minecraft

My best friend and I have been playing Minecraft together since the beta versions of 2011. I’ve long lost track of how many different worlds we’ve created and how many adventures we’ve had, but I’ve greatly enjoyed every minute we’ve spent creating together. One thing I love most is how the game brings out our individual characters: he’s more of an architect and an explorer, while I’m more of an artist and a farmer. Our playing styles may be different, but through combined effort, we’ve built cities, hoarded resources, survived monster attacks in the middle of the night and explored every terrain from the highest mountains to the deepest caves. In the world of Minecraft, we don’t need a predetermined plot to have hours of fun. We write our own stories.

Video games have their fair share of pros and cons, but when it comes to the creative aspect, they’re a unique source of inspiration. From writing video game fanfiction to finding ideas for original works, video games have been a big part of my journey as a writer, as they likely will be for years to come. And if nothing else, they make a great outlet for relieving the stress of a creative block!

Are you an avid gamer? Have video games ever helped you in your writing? What games inspire you the most?

Mario and Link belong to Nintendo. Sonic the Hedgehog belongs to SEGA. The Last of Us is a product of Naughty Dog and Sony Computer Entertainment. Minecraft is a product of Mojang. All official artwork is displayed for illustrative purposes only. I own nothing!

Word of the Week: Melodramatic

Word: melodramatic

Pronunciation: me-lə-drə-MA-tik

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: exaggerated, sensationalized or overemotional

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Prince Edward: You lying, murderous wretch! When we return home, Andalasia shall know of your treachery! Your days as queen will be over!

Queen Narissa: Take my crown? Don’t you think that’s a bit melodramatic, dear?

Prince Edward: I don’t know what “melodramatic” means, but you’ll be removed from the throne, Narissa! I will see to it.

Enchanted (2007)

Although I had long been familiar with the word “melodramatic”, the above dialogue from the 2007 Disney film Enchanted is what inspired me to research it and, more recently, to include it in my vocabulary list. After discovering that his evil stepmother has poisoned his fiancé Giselle, Prince Edward promises to have her stripped of her title as Queen, a threat she nervously dismisses as unnecessarily dramatic. Of course, had Edward understood what she was saying, he certainly would have disagreed that his punishment would be unfair, given that she was attempting to murder his future princess.

Action regarded as “melodramatic” is exaggerated, sensationalized and overly emotional in nature. In other words, it’s dramatic for the sake of being dramatic. Derived from the noun “melodrama”, the word can be traced back to the French noun mélodrame, which in turn is comprised of the Greek noun melos “music” and the French noun drame “drama”.

In my opinion, “melodramatic” is especially useful for describing artistic characters such as actors and other performers. As for my experience with it, the last time I used the term “melodrama” in a story was satirically, to draw attention to a character’s impulsive and emotional behavior. I’ve always thought this word works best to make fun of overly dramatic actions, so you’ll probably get the most use out of it in this sense as well. Just take care not to make your stories unintentionally “melodramatic”!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Close Encounters

Personal Log – Planet CCCLXV: Day 3

We had our first encounter with native intelligent lifeforms today. As expected, they’re rather bizarre and, in my opinion, frightfully ugly. They have rigid figures topped with a single round multi-cavity structure, which we suspect hold their cognitive centers. Each lifeform only possesses two optical organs, both of which face forward; it’s a wonder how they can see anything at all. Stranger still, however, are the limbs protruding from their cores: four stiff members that bend in the middle. It’s lucky those limbs are jointed, else the creatures wouldn’t be able to move or perform any functions. Speaking of functions… No, perhaps it’s best we don’t understand. That would be the stuff of nightmares to last for weeks.

Adapted from a writing prompt from Writer’s Carnival: Alien Reversal.

Write a paragraph on an encounter with an alien… only you are the alien meeting a human for the first time. Make it funny, scary or completely off the wall.

I imagine extraterrestrials would be just as horrified by us as we would be by them! I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

Dreaming Big (Writers Reveal)

Hello, and welcome to this year’s August round of Writers Reveal! First off, I’d like to welcome a new member who’s joining us this month: Lee-Anne Walker of “Is it just me?“. Welcome to the circle, Lee-Anne! Glad to have you with us!

Today’s topic was sent to us by Emily Hawker, who suggested the prompt: “when I grow up”. Since I’ve already written a nonfiction post about this topic for Writers Reveal in the past, I decided to use this second opportunity to write a short story based on that idea. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for the prompt, Emily!

Dreaming Big

Pixar UP - House and Balloons

Carl Fredricksen’s house, from Pixar’s UP (2009)

You have to choose one.

That was all Sophie had been hearing for the past two weeks. To say it was starting to get on her nerves was an understatement.

Everyone else already knows. You should too.

But how could she? There were so many options that it was impossible to pick just one! It was too much pressure from her teacher, from her parents, from society in general. Fourteen was too young to know what she wanted to be when she grew up, and anyone else her age who said they already knew was almost definitely lying.

“Sophie…” Ms. Miller took a seat at her desk after all the other students had left. “I understand this is difficult, but I really do need you to make a choice by Friday. This paper is part of your grade. I don’t want to have to fail you because of something so trivial. It doesn’t have to be your final decision for life; I’m only asking for three to five pages on a career that interests you now.”

The teenage girl looked down at the pencil she was nervously tapping on her own desk. It was hard enough to produce an essay about any topic, but having a separate deadline for the subject matter only made it all the more stressful.

“I need more time”, she muttered awkwardly for the third time since last Monday. “Can’t I just surprise you at the end of the month?”

The English teacher shook her head. “The reason I ask for the topics two weeks in advance is so you’ll all have plenty of time to write the actual essays. I don’t want you scrambling for something to write about at the last minute, otherwise your work will suffer. Please think about it, Sophie. I expect you to have an answer by Friday.”

On that cue, Sophie grabbed her backpack and headed out the door, leaving Ms. Miller to sigh in exasperation at an empty classroom. It was going to be a long week.

From that Monday afternoon to Thursday morning, Sophie questioned everyone she knew about their chosen career paths, and each of them seemed to have a different insight on the subject. Her father claimed to enjoy his job as a business executive, while her mother encouraged her to consider a career in the sciences. Her older brother, who had been working toward a football scholarship for the last year, said he might want to become a professional athlete. Her friends had already expressed interest in every profession from doctors and lawyers to astronauts and world-touring singers. Even her parents’ friends and her friends’ parents had some interesting input, as several of them had switched majors in the middle of college and others still had yet to figure out what they really wanted to do with their lives!

So many ideas had been contributed in the last few days that by the time Sophie sat down at her room’s computer desk on Thursday afternoon, her head was still spinning with all the possibilities. The problem was not that she didn’t want to try any of them; it was that she wanted to try all of them. How could she hope to choose only one career when they all sounded so appealing?

Frustrated, the teenager glanced over at her bookshelf. She couldn’t remember ambition ever being this overwhelming. She used to spend hours getting lost in her books, reading about people who sailed across the ocean or had adventures in the sky, who solved mysteries and saved lives and fought for justice, and she’d always wonder if real life could be just as exciting as the stories on her shelf.

And that was when it hit her. Perhaps there was a solution to her dilemma after all, a way she could give her teacher an answer while still staying true to herself. Suddenly inspired, Sophie turned back to her desk and began to type. She typed all through the afternoon and well into the night, pausing only once for dinner and stopping only when the final period had been placed on the very last sentence at a quarter to midnight. Breathing an immense sigh of relief, the 14-year-old printed out her work and shut her computer off to prepare for her first good night’s sleep in weeks.

The following afternoon, after the bell rang at the end of English class and all her peers had filed out, Sophie approached Ms. Miller at her desk.

“So, Sophie”, the teacher began, “have you finally come up with–?”

Her question was cut short when the teenager dropped a stapled stack of papers on the desk. The adult glanced at it in surprise before looking up at her student with a puzzled expression.

“What is this?”

“My essay”, said Sophie with a smile. “All five pages of it. I had to edit some stuff out to make it fit, but it’s all there.”

Ms. Miller was amazed. “How did you manage this?”

“I thought a lot about what you said, that I had to make a choice, and I realized – no offense – that you were wrong. I figured out a way that I can choose everything and still do something completely different from all of it. And now I finally know what I want to do with my life.”

The teacher picked up the paper to study it closely. After reading the title, Ms. Miller looked up at her student with a smile that suggested she had never been prouder of her. Sophie could hardly contain her excitement as she announced her dream with a broad grin.

“I’m going to be a writer.”

This has been a special topic post for Writers Reveal, a monthly blog swap among several talented writers. Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in the event. Thanks for reading!


Other bloggers in Writers Reveal
Melissa Khalinsky: Melissa Writes
Becky Fyfe: Imagine! Create! Write!
Ashley Howland: Ghostnapped
Emily Hawker: You Learn Something New Every Day
Lee-Anne Walker: Is it just me?

We’re looking for more bloggers to join our circle! If you’re interested in participating in this monthly roundup, be sure to contact Emily Hawker so she can include you in our email list. Thank you!

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