Triple F: Everyone Knows It but Me?

How’s your week been? We’ve still got a bit left of it, and you know what that means…

Let’s get to it.

Along with starting a new campaign of Dungeons and Dragons, reaching out to various writing opportunities that cropped up, and what-have-ya, I didn’t get a chance to reflect on something that impacted me (though I will say nowhere near as much as some others).

Which was the passing of Stan Lee–arguably (or probably unarguably) the most famous comic book/pop culture/superhero writer ever–considering he created most of the genre.

By the time I had time to think about it, the week was almost over. I may give it a post at some later time, though.

Today’s Friday, and that means Fabulous Fiction Friday and a prompt for you.

Your prompt for this week’s Triple F is:

Your character is trapped in a strange world, where everybody but them knows they’re on a secret mission.

(This is a bit of a mixing around of what happened in D&D last Wednesday, but I figured I’d run with it anyway.)

Okay, so no gender, backstory, or what-have-ya, just a plot point with details you’ll have to sneak in, here and there, so that readers pick up on things in hints. You’ll also have to figure out how the character finally realizes they have a secret mission, what it is, and how to complete it (unless everyone else is cursed or something not to blurt it out to them).

Maybe something like:

Laura always knew her coworkers were weird–telling her she was “too important to quit” and “they really needed her around.” Normal way to get someone to keep a boring job, she figured. But then heard a coworker say something in her house–across town…

Barry thought everything in his life was a joke–his parents telling him he’d grow up to save the world someday…didn’t all parents do that? Nothing else made sense, until some old man he’d never met said, “Your parents couldn’t tell you your own secret. No one originally from this town can. Since I’m not, there’s something you definitely need to know about this world…and about yourself.”

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling down the hill.

November 2018 is just barely halfway over now.

Make it a great weekend with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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The Rocky Start to My Second D&D Campaign Taught Me Some Things…

How’s it going? I started my second-ever campaign in Dungeons and Dragons and boy was it a rough start…but I did pick up a lot of useful tidbits about D&D, as well as about writing and characterization.

And some of all that my brother had to clue me in on.

Let’s get to it.

I ended up wanting to play a warlock character this time, and my brother suggested, from all the different human-like races, that I be an Aasimar (basically a pale, pale human-ish creature).

That was fine with me, because that particular race gets a boost to the charisma stat when they start out, which is the juice warlocks use to power their abilities. So my warlock Lundgren Bask is highly charismatic (like three more points and it would be maximum/20 charismatic).

This is where things started to go awry, at least in my head. I can be persuasive, but I’m more covert about it.

When I think of someone who’s highly charismatic, I think of someone who’s all smoochy-smoochy, armloads of flowers, wine and dine type of a person. That could be a bit of misconception on my part…

But throughout this campaign, I’ll have to BE him.

So all of that, coupled with the mission I’m going to be embarking on, and knowing that I may be the only player for this campaign and not knowing what to do, led to a couple different things:

Awkward silences

Awkward sentences after silences

Telling the mayor of my town (in a town where I didn’t really fit in) that I was basically on a secret mission to hunt down advanced tech to help the town out

Yeah, uh, no. Shouldn’t have breathed a word about it. I should have just told them I’ll be back sometime later, going on a little trip.

My brother and I got a little tied up because he was using the official rule book for all the stats and abilities and I was using an online resource. There were a lot of important differences (like the stats on my hand weapon) that slowed us down…not to mention me accidentally throwing us both off track because I started in the middle of a description of an ability by mentioning how many dice it had.

All of that made my brother think I was talking about something I really wasn’t.

Oops.

A couple different things I learned from all this:

Agree on your source material. This can cover anything, especially in copy, but in fiction, too. You’re striving for internal coherence in the world you’re making if it’s fiction, and making sure you’re both on the same page to fix things up if it’s copy. Every niche has resources you can look at that cover style and what-have-ya, but it’s best if you and your audience (or you and your client) have the same general direction you’d like to go in.

Get out of your head about everything. This point is huge for me. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in minutiae a lot of the time (see previous paragraphs).

I’m really excited to get this started, but to do this effectively, I’m probably going to have to stretch on a personal level (which seems a bit weird to me, because I’m discussing a fictional character).

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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Episode 21: Fiction Writers Can Do This, but Copywriters Can’t (Mostly)

How’s it going? Today’s Wednesday, and if you’ve been here on a Wednesday lately, you know what time it is.

Let’s get to it.

For this week’s sequential episode, I’ll try to include a tidbit or two that wasn’t in the original post.

Here you go:

https://anchor.fm/fiction-and-copy-decoded/episodes/Episode-21-Fiction-Writers-Can-Do-This–but-Copywriters-Cant-Mostly-e2j4k2

Until next time,

Ty

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3, 2, 1, 577, ?, 0: What a Fictional Spider Taught Me about Writing and Real Life

How’s it going? I’d like to continue on the gaming/writing vibe for a bit longer with today’s post, while trying not to bore you with the gaming side of it, in case that’s not your thing.

Let’s get to it.

A character in an online RPG I play (which I wrote about here) offered me a challenge of his, as my first assignment from him. I said I’d do it, without really knowing what it was (usually I do my research on this type of thing).

Turns out he wanted me to kill 10 of the most difficult monsters in the game, and to really ratchet things up, after every kill, I’d get a crystal in my bag that would make the next fights harder in some way (being able to dish out less damage, having food heal less, or what-have-ya).

And with that realization, that’s where I stayed for months, all because of a ginormous spider named…

Araxxor (and his mate, Araxxi).

He’s really big, has lots of creepy spidery attacks, and has to be faced in a three part fight, with a finale after where you have to fight his unhappy-to-see-you mate.

I think it took me at least 30 tries to win this fight, it could have been more. I watched/studied videos of people who had won this fight–some of them multiple times, and I picked up tips from each one.

I spent probably millions of gold pieces to get all my stuff back after the spider killed me…again. That’s part of what slowed me down–and then I learned the fight had a free practice mode (you can’t see, but I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now).

When I got the spider at the end down to 577 hitpoints before it killed me off, I knew I was on to something (each of the four phases of the fight, the spider in question starts with 100,000 hitpoints).

And then I sent the deadly duo to spider heaven, and I was over the moon, so to speak.

The hardest part of that character’s big challenge was over, and the other 8 fights (I’d done one just for fun before the spider–glad it didn’t derail the whole thing) seemed like cake in comparison.

This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in a game, thus far, and that’s mostly the point.

I’ve done things I had to do, and didn’t necessarily like it…I know you have too. It reminds me of that maxim about fear is realizing you’re afraid and doing it anyway.

Not to say that you should try to B.S. your way into something that’s totally beyond your capabilities at the time (although I know some people who have and who are great at that kind of thing, mostly because of what they learned and the results they got).

Some people are okay with that level of extreme discomfort that’s next door to blind panic, but not me.

I’m talking about slight to moderate discomfort. That could be anything from taking on new clients and asking for referrals, to exploring new niches and opportunities (both for fiction and copy).

I’ve been toying with stepping out of my comfort zone in a big way (at least for me). And I think I’ll be able to get you a front-row seat on how things go when the time comes.

Tomorrow is podcast day.

Until next time,

Ty

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For Me, It Ended with a Whimper…

How was your weekend? Today is the observation of Veteran’s Day in the U.S., even though the day itself was officially yesterday (it’s got two 11’s in a row, which is pretty neat).

Anyway, I’d like to express my appreciation for all the brave men and women in uniform who selflessly serve others, day in and day out.

If you currently serve or did serve, thanks so much.

=====

Let’s get to it.

I’d like to chat a little bit about the end of the very first D&D campaign I ever participated in.

We had a five-month hiatus on the game itself because of scheduling issues, people needing to drop out, or what-have-ya.

We got things set up, and this is where I tell you that my brother, who was in charge of this thing, created a necromancer named Slick Willy for us to fight…and if you want to ask if he knows the real-world significance of that name, yes he does.

So what basically happened was the other dude who was in the fight with me did all the work on taking the guy out, which was a compilation of several things:

Me failing to fire my gun during the whole fight (which was a cursed weapon that was difficult to fire–the only person I’d actually managed to shoot with it was me…in a previous session)

Missing the majority of my frost or fire shots whenever I tried to shoot those (although I was able to make the necromancer guy slip when I magically greased the floor under his feet)

And then there was the little matter of me taking too much punishment and falling unconscious so I couldn’t help anyone–if I hadn’t rolled a 19 to get stabilized, I would have had one more chance before my character died for good

So yep, that’s why the other dude ended up getting all the glory and had to carry me (especially since the place we were in caught on fire).

Which is fine–that’s the roll of the dice. I’m just glad, after all that, we made it through successfully and didn’t lose our characters.

Which leads me to the pointola…

Fits and starts, and not ending up the way you planned it–that’s a fiction story sometimes, depending on how your character’s, uh, character helps things play out.

Or a promotion you write for a client (or yourself).

There are some times you have to make the best of what is (something I need to do more of), adjust what you can, and forge ahead.

My second-ever D&D campaign is due to start this Wednesday, one week after the other one ended. We’ll see what happens.

Sometimes, but not always, it’s the ride that really matters.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: But It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way

How’s your week been? Things were pretty interesting this week (for one reason or other). Things that happened included:

Getting my hat in the ring for a writing apprenticeship-ish deal

Finishing my very first campaign of D&D

Going hard to try to kill a ginormous spider, even though he’s totally made up

And to top it off, I woke up this morning in time to see the four-letter word (that’s “snow,” in case you didn’t know), on the ground.

And I’ll have to write about a lot of it (maybe all of it, one post at a time) in the coming days.

We’ve still got some time left in the week though…

Let’s get to it.

After all that build-up, I can’t hold the suspense much longer. You know what we do here every Friday, right?

Your prompt for this week’s Triple F is:

Your character begins to see their work life bleed into their home life, in a most hilarious way.

Not very original, I know, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I mentioned the three interesting things that happened this week, so I’m going with it.

You’ll have to add in the gender, backstory, and what-have-ya, as well as why/how this crossover is happening, and why it’s funny.

Or you could also go with something embarrassing that the character or someone in the character’s world views as funny.

Maybe something like:

Kate thought everything was fine–new job, new home, trying to get lots of sleep. But ever since the time change things have been weird. She’s been working at a mini-office on the couch every night, even though she works 10-hour days already. Coworkers helped her set up, which is fine, but why did they bring cake?

Colin needed to figure out his new job, or get fired. He never told anyone, but some guys from work showed up at his house with pizza and what they called a “multimedia study guide.” Which, it turned out, was actually designed to get him to stay at work. They say it’s because they liked him, but showing up with pizza, beer, and a laptop at 2 a.m. is a bit weird, if not creepy, no?

That’s enough to get the mental snowball (ha!) rolling down the hill, I think.

November 2018 is about one-third of the way through.

Make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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The Way My Brother Put It, These Four Lines Make a Circle

How’s it going? With all that stuff about submitting and rejection on yesterday’s podcast, I realized I didn’t want to be a downer or overly negative.

Then I remembered something my brother told me a long time ago that relates to the positives (at least in my view) of being negative, at least to an extent.

Let’s get to it.

This is a bit poetic, and I don’t know where my brother dug it up, but it goes like this:

Hard times make hard men

Hard men make soft times

Soft times make soft men

Soft men make hard times

And so the cycle repeats itself, over and over.

To me, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared, as long as you don’t dwell on it, or beat yourself up about things after they happen (depending on whether you’re in one or the other of those boats–or neither).

And of course that includes rejection, a flopped launch, struggling about characters or plotting, and what-have-ya.

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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Episode 20: There’s Piercing, but Nothing Physically Gets Hurt

How’s it going? Today’s podcast day, so…

Let’s get to it.

Today’s podcast is about the cycle writers and marketers go through when they try to get their work and offers out there (you’re probably familiar with it already).

Here you go:

https://anchor.fm/fiction-and-copy-decoded/episodes/Episode-20-Theres-Piercing–but-Nothing-Physically-Gets-Hurt-e2hsja

Until next time,

Ty

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How My Mom Got Me to Think about TV a Bit Differently

How’s it going? My mom (of all people) told me something interesting about a particular TV station that I think connected well to writing in general, and project work in particular.

Let’s get to it.

There’s a channel on TV with a name that starts with H. They’re renowned for standalone movies that are heavy on the romantic element, and almost never contain violence or what-have-ya. And they also have wall-to-wall movies around all major holidays.

Anyway, my mom said something to the effect of:

“They have better plots when they have more well-paid actors.”

To me that’s weird to think about, because it might be true, but I think of it more in terms of writing and marketing than anything else.

Which leads me to the pointola for today…

Sometimes writers find it easier to really crank up their effort if they’re being paid more money to do something.

Maybe it’s more of a human error/pride issue. I don’t know. Drop me a line in the comments–I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

To me it shouldn’t matter, and everyone should do their best regardless, because a lower amount of money isn’t an excuse for shoddy work. Sure, it can or may wreck self-esteem if you put out excellence and you’re not rewarded for it, and I have to admit a bigger payday is more fulfilling to me, on some level.

That’s mostly because I’ve learned all of that the hard way.

Anyway, tomorrow is podcast day.

Until next time,

Ty

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I Love It When This Ends…

How was your weekend? As far as the post title, I’m ashamed to say I forgot to tell you about a certain thing before it happened, and it did already.

But I can say I really like this, especially when it’s gone.

Let’s get to it.

For those of you who may live in a country (or a region of the U.S.) where this doesn’t happen, I’m actually talking about…

The end of Daylight Savings Time.

So, for about five or so months, I (and you, too, probably), get the illusion of an extra hour to the day (and no, I’m not the kind to get up at 2 in the morning on a Sunday just to flip a clock).

And I know it’s not an extra hour in reality, but it sure helps me to think about it that way, anyway.

The days feel more restful, like letting your characters breathe after a big battle or what-have-ya.

Or sending work off to a client, or putting one of your own offers out into the world, if you write for yourself, too.

And yes, rest is part of the writing process, or should be.

How about you? Drop me a line in the comments–I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

Ty

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