John Evans' Blog

Tag: writing

Always Go For The Joke

by on Jun.22, 2008, under Uncategorized

I watched Spaceballs a few months ago, and there was a scene that struck me. Spaceballs, of course, is a comedy, run through with jokes large and small. In one of the scenes, the evil ship is about to transform to a different shape. So one of the villains says…

“Prepare for…Metamorphosis! Ready, Kafka?”

Then they sort of wait for a beat…then cut somewhere else.

Now, on the face of it, this is a pretty lame joke. Kafka wrote a famous short story called “Metamorphosis”. Big deal, why even bother? However, I thought about it for a while and I came to the conclusion that if you’re writing a comedy, you should always go for the joke. No matter how stupid it is. There are a couple reasons for this.

1) Different people have different senses of humor. Something that may bring you merely a smile might make someone else break down in laughter. The more jokes you have, the more likely you are to entertain everyone.

2) The mood of Spaceballs is one of sustained humor. There’s joke after joke after joke…Having a sustained flow of jokes keeps the audience in the mood for humor, in the mood to enjoy the comedy of the entire movie. Plus, if your audience is in the mood for humor, even stupid jokes might be funny to them.

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Midori Days Drabble – United By Fate

by on May.10, 2008, under Uncategorized

As requested by markpoa…this one is not what I speculated I would write about, and it’s a somewhat obscure joke anyway. Well, we’ll see how many people get it. 😛

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Miyahara flipped a knife in his hand and ran his fingers over his spiky hair. “Let’s find our leader! For the honor of our school and his older brother, Rin!”

Rin pulled off her motorcycle helmet and smacked Miyahara with it. “I told you not to bother pretending I’m a guy.”

“I’ll come too!” A blond girl pounced on Miyahara, her boxing gloves squishing into his face. “I’ll find Seiji with you!”

“Miyahara, can’t you control your girlfriend?” Rin blinked. “Wait–YOU’RE not supposed to be here!”

“Yotto!” Sakura skidded into place.

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Midori squirmed. “No…zzzzz…no more button mashing…”

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HP Drabble – Specialties

by on May.10, 2008, under Uncategorized

As requested by vincentursus…upon rereading his idea I think I may have misinterpreted it. However, this story came to mind and I wrote it. If he’s unsatisfied I’ll just have to write another (in my copious spare time). 😉

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“What’s your specialty, Harry?” Ron said suddenly.

“Hmmm?” Harry continued wafting the feather overhead.

“I was just thinking,” Ron continued. “Lots of people have specialties, like Neville’s with Herbology.”

“Flying, I suppose,” Harry replied. “Or Charms.” The feather burst into bits and rained down upon them.

“Ron’s good at Charms,” Hermione said, brushing off dust.

“I what?” Ron stared.

“Well, your father’s car, and your brothers’ Wizard Wheezes. It’s in your blood.”

“You’re good at creating things, Hermione,” Harry said. “Like those flames.”

“I never was good at creating stuff,” Ron griped.

Hermione smirked. “Of course not, you’re a boy.”

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Tiny fanfics

by on May.07, 2008, under Uncategorized

As propagated by vincentursus, here and here

Every person who wants to gets to request a drabble (real drabble: 100 words exactly) from you. In return, they have to post this in their journal and write a drabble for you. Post all fandoms you’re willing to write for. Your friends can pick a relationship, a story arc, a missing scene, or pretty much anything they want, unless the author has previously mentioned that they will not write it. They comment with what they want, and you write drabbles and post it in your LiveJournal.

Fandoms, let’s see…I make no claim to know every single detail about most of these. Some I’m better at than others. 😉 So if you ask for something really esoteric you may just get a “Well, crap, I have no idea what you’re talking about”…So! In roughly descending order of confidence:

Harry Potter
Negima
Do-Gooders
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Ranma 1/2
Midori Days
Cutey Honey
Aeon Flux
The Prisoner
Robotech
Kaiju Big Battel
Mortal Kombat
Mega Man
R-Type
Ghost Rider
Doctor Who
The Matrix
Spider-Man
Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Note to self: Reveal Cephied sometime.

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Random Thoughts

by on Jun.15, 2007, under Uncategorized

Being a game designer/developer, I write in second person a lot.

If I see one more anime, manga or game with a brother and sister who “aren’t related by blood”, I’m going to scream.

Does anyone else really dislike the taste of mace? It seems somehow rancid to me.

What is the one game available on both XBox Live Arcade and the Wii Virtual Console?

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Experience

by on Feb.27, 2007, under Uncategorized

I think it’s important for any creative person to realize that what they’re actually attempting to craft is an experience. For computer game designers, certainly, this should be uppermost in their minds…however, I think it can apply to novelists, TV show writers, whatever. It’s not that you’re creating a physical thing, it’s that you’re creating something that will enable your viewer/reader/player to have an interesting experience.

Well, this is my theory, anyway. I just had this kind of epiphany today and I thought I’d write it down. I suppose it may not be news to many people, but I’ve never quite thought of it before. Fortunately, I think it’s somewhat instinctive…especially in my more ambitious game designs, I think to myself, “Okay, I want the player to have a moment where they feel like THIS”…

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Who Could Believe Such a Thing? – The Role of Disbelief in Narrative

by on Dec.20, 2006, under Uncategorized

Imagine a work of fiction – a novel, a television show, a video game, anything you like. Imagine that one character advances an outlandish theory to explain the unusual occurrences that have plagued the narrative. Imagine that another character expresses surprise, skepticism, disbelief at this theory.

Who is eventually proven right?

Who Could Believe Such a Thing? – The Role of Disbelief in Narrative

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Why the Japanese Hate Sequels

by on Aug.07, 2006, under Uncategorized

Okay, okay, the Japanese don’t necessarily hate sequels; that was mere hyperbole. But it seems sometimes like they don’t entirely grasp the concept. Look at Legend of Zelda Wind Waker vs. the previous Zelda games. Look at Dark Cloud vs. Dark Cloud 2. Heck, look at all the various Final Fantasy games!

However, I’ve come across things in recent researches that may shed new light on this tendency. It all goes back to Osamu Tezuka, the “Father of Manga” or even “God of Manga”. A prolific pioneer, he published hundreds of different manga in many different genres. Along the way he came up with an interesting idea called the Star System.

For those who might not want to read the whole article, I’ll summarize. Reportedly, Tezuka was inspired by the film industry, who were promoting actors and actresses as “stars” over and above simply promoting their roles in specific movies. This is, of course, the standard way of doing things nowadays in Hollywood…Tezuka took it in a slightly different direction. He reused characters from manga to manga, but in different roles. One of the most famous characters is Shunsaku Ban, a portly, middle-aged man with a large walrus-like moustache. In Astro Boy he sometimes plays Astro’s teacher, but in most works (such as the manga and film Metropolis) he plays a detective.

Of course, I say “he plays” but the character really has no existence outside the manga…Or does he? Tezuka imbued his characters with such life that I do not doubt he believed they had independent existences…perhaps only within his own mind, but independent even so. So the conceit of seeing these characters as “actors” playing recurrent roles became a natural one. It draws a curious layer of metatextuality over Tezuka’s oeuvre.

And perhaps the “Star System” influenced over Japanese creators. Anyone who’s run into the various versions of the Tenchi Muyo canon would no doubt find it simple to think of “Tenchi” as an actor appearing in several different “Tenchi-ish” works.

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Writing Prompts, 2006-05-09

by on May.22, 2006, under Uncategorized

I recently learned that Writers’ Digest has Writing Prompts every week…little story ideas to help you get started writing. The idea is to get a bit of regular exercise for your writing brain. I figured I’d give it a try and see what happens.

I didn’t like the current prompt, so I’m going to pick the one from last week: You’ve invented a new soft drink that not only tastes great, but also improves a person’s ability to [fill in the blank]. Write an advertisement for your new soda.

Lewtist!

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