Saturday, July 27, 2013

This Picture Contains Unintelligible Nonsense (Probably)

During our most recent tabletop session, we ran into a slight problem while planning Elestyne and Kortesh's next move. You see, in the previous session, I had failed to document a certain tidbit of information. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say that the entire overarching plot hinges on this "tidbit".

Luckily, we remembered what we needed to know after 20 minutes of head-scratching, but this isn't the first time we've encountered this problem, and I realized that my note-taking methods were the root of the issue. For the last 2 years, I've spent every session bent over a colossal binder, writing down everything that is said and done in the fasted longhand I can manage. Turns out, that's not enough. For one thing, it's extremely difficult to roleplay and accurately document at the same time. For another, writing feverishly in cursive for multiple hours at a time does not a happy wrist make.

So I've taken it upon myself to master a skill known to court reporters, journalists, and secret agents everywhere.

They say most people can become proficient with Teeline shorthand after about 200 hours of practice, which gives me plenty of time before our next session. After 3 days, I can write out almost everything I'd want to say in shorthand, and now it's just a matter of being able to write it all down at the speed of dictation. For the next 3 weeks, you can be sure that if I have heard it, it has been documented. To those in my vicinity, I would advise against saying anything, be it a false promise or a true confession, that you would not wish to have on record.

Unless you're a fast talker. Then you're probably safe.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sometimes, Writer's Block Is Like The Kissing Disease

You know when you've been sluggish, swoon-y and vomit-y for what feels like your entire life, then when you finally go to the doctor and test positive for mono, you go, "Ah, jeez. Mono? This is gonna suck!"

Then the doctor gives you a dopey smile and says, "Well, at least we know what's wrong now."

Yeah, I guess we do, doc.

I recently went through the writer's equivalent. (Although unlike mono, most of us experience it more than once in our lives.)

I spent almost three weeks dragging myself through one scene. Part of it was because the workload for my course is more intense than anticipated, but mostly it was because the whole time I couldn't shake this feeling that something about the scene was wrong wrong wrong.

Good News:  I found out what was wrong. I was in the wrong character's head the whole time.

Bad News: The characters are way too different for me to just swap the pronouns and call it good. I now have to rewrite the whole thing.

More Good News: The words will probably come a lot more easily this time.