Music & Writing by N. Eric Phillips
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One of the best ways to get writers’ block is to push too hard. You are stuck? Do what I do. Move to another place in the story and work on that, or even another story. You will be surprised how fast your block will clear. What you do not want to do is stop for the day. Writing time is for writing.
Everything has been done before. Face it: there are no new stories. The only thing that sets a story apart is your take on it. Hard-edged noir detective movies have been done repeatedly until they stopped being original and became stereotypes. When Ridley Scott set his noir film in the near future and mixed it with sci fi elements it was new and brilliant. Same for Mr. Scott’s Alien: a slasher horror in space.
Sometimes the take can emphasize the stereotype. Take Scream. The characters are aware of the genre and use that knowledge to battle the killer.
So do not be afraid to try something old… as long as you make it new.
What is in a name? As a writer, a whole lot. When creating characters I tend to name them based on the meaning or history of the name, and how it fits the piece I am working on. Recently, I had two detectives in a script named Burnam and Woods, a reference to the climatic ending of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Try this in your writing, or play a game when you read or watch stories. See if you can guess why they chose those names. Here is an easy one: Han Solo from Star Wars. Solo is a loner just as his name implies.
There is a defiantly a meeting of worlds when it comes to writing and tabletop role-play gaming. Games like Prime Time Adventures and Fiasco are much more creative story telling than the classic RPGs of the past. Even in games like D&D, good groups of players build a story together rather than just letting the story happen around them.
So it is with excitement that last night I picked up my tickets for the train to go to Strategicon over Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles. With almost 1500 participants, it is large and fun. I will be running a couple of games so keep an eye out for them if you are attending. I am planning a Traveller adventure (but run under Savage Worlds rules), and at least one session of Paranoia. More on these as the event gets closer.