Writing about Writing

Archive for September, 2014

Writing Something Different

A few months ago, some friends and I went to a place called Xcape, which is billed as a ‘real-life escape experience’. Essentially, there are different themed Xcapes where you are locked into a room, or rooms, and have to solve a series of puzzles to escape from the room. If you don’t make it out in time – you lose and get to take a picture holding a sign that says “Failed”. Fortunately, we succeeded!

It was great fun and we all resolved to do it again.

In the meantime, I resolved to attempt writing up something along those lines. Not an escape scenario, instead something more like a murder mystery dinner, except with more moving around and opening locks.

Writing this has been a very different experience from anything I’ve written before. Not only have I never attempted a crime/murder novel, but coming up with something fun and interactive was…interesting. Throughout the entire process, I kept thinking to myself: “How can I turn this story-element into a clue that fits on a lock and goes inside a small box?”

By the time I finished writing out the storyline, I’d come up with 4 ‘locked’ clues, a clue hidden in a room, and a few verbal clues.

The verbal clues are going to be the toughest, I think. See, I was trying to think of alternative ways of giving clues instead of depending on locks and hiding places, and I came up with an interrogation. Basically, the participants are going to interrogate a series of suspects (all played by me) and if they ask the correct question, or say the right thing, I’ll give them a vital clue to move on to the next stage. I thought it would be a neat way to change the system a bit. But I’m also facepalming myself for creating a situation where I have to act like 5 different people. This could be a hilarious disaster, or just a disaster.

In any case, it was fun to tackle a different type of writing. I can’t say yet if I was successful or not (I’ll find out tonight!), but at the very least, it was nice doing something different after all the time spent editing my novel the last few months!

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The Books That Have Stayed With Me

I thought this list was interesting. Top 20 books that people say ‘stayed with them in some way’, according to a Facebook poll.

I’d say I’m both surprised and not surprised by Harry Potter at #1. Not surprised because it’s still fairly recent and has become a massive part of pop culture. On the other hand, I really don’t think the books were that great, if I’m being totally honest.

I will have to agree with some other entries though. Lord of the Rings for sure. Yes, it had its flaws (this one probably negates my above comment about Harry Potter), but it was huge in steering me toward fantasy as a kid. While I agree with LOTR, I don’t agree with The Hobbit. Because frankly, The Hobbit wasn’t a very good book.

I absolutely agree with 1984 though. I read that book around 17 years ago and still talk about it. I’m still recommending it to people!

If I was going to add a few of my own, I might add Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson. That book had one of the saddest and most shocking losses I’ve read in a high fantasy novel. I actually found it more powerful than the Red Wedding in ASOIAF.

Just about anything by Guy Gavriel Kay. One of my favourite writers. That man can weave a tale, let me tell you. Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, and The Lions of Al-Rassan are some of my favourites.

Anyone have others to add?

Johnny Reads

Don’t worry, I’m not going tell you about ten books that have stayed with me. Cause I don’t think I have ten, or five even. But in the name of kinda sorta not really participating in this little Facebook tag that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, I’m going to talk about it.

I’ve just read an article that states that Facebook has determined the book included the most in responses to the tag is…can you guess it? I could have. Easily. I’ll give you a second to think about it.

Here’s a hint if you’re still thinking. The main characters in the book go to a special kind of school by the name of Hogwarts. The most common response to this particular Facebook tag was the HP series. I think it’s understandable considering who I think is more likely to be on Facebook responding to these kinds…

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