Friday, August 28, 2020

Story Atmosphere

I've been replaying the original Tomb Raider on the PC. There's always been something odd about that game in terms of its lonely isolated atmosphere that the newer games sadly lack. I've been trying to put my finger on exactly what it is to see if it's possible to convey something similar in my own stories.

When the giant doors close at the beginning of the game, and Lara removes her glasses, she's suddenly alone and forced to proceed in order to survive. But it's not the scenario itself that causes the lonely atmosphere for many other of the Tomb Raider games start in a similar style. Even the music cannot be the cause as the PC version has sound effects, such as the wind, playing in the background rather than the music that the PlayStation and Saga Saturn versions posses.

If I do write a Tomb Raider fan fiction, or a novel of a similar genre, I'm going to try my damnedest to convey the lonely feeling of the protagonist.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Twitter - Blue Check Marks

I've touched on this subject in the past but I didn't realise as to the extent it went. It's certainly possible Twitter has always been troublesome in that respect but I've only just come across it.

I've had Twitter for about six years or so. At first I didn't know what to make of it, not really seeing the point, but as I've followed more and more people it's become a useful tool and in many ways far more useful than Facebook. I think it's fair to say Facebook is to keep in touch with friends and family while Twitter is for people with shared interests.

Celebrities and people in the entertainment industries also use Twitter. I imagine some celebrity accounts are managed by someone on their behalf but it's also clear that many celebrities post directly themselves. Twitter has a verification for celebrity accounts as to confirm that they are who they claim to be and not a spoof parody account, this is known as the blue check mark. People with the mark always have their profiles and posts at the top of the list when searching. I've also noticed a lot of minor celebrities don't have the check mark while some people who are relatively unknown do, which is slightly odd.

Anyway back to the point I'm making. There is something strange happening with Twitter and I think they really need to clean up their act, and monitor what's being said, even to the extent of banning people and removing their blue check mark.

It's reached the stage now where I won't follow someone if they have a blue check mark next to their name for it no longer stands for celebrity, it stands for internet troll. They can say what they like and insult who they like with no consequence. It's disgusting that A-list celebrities, professional writers and others with a blue check mark can say outrageous things and get away with it, while others can get a temporary ban for the simplest of comments that may be deemed offensive.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

I Had Coronavirus

There's quite a variation within the severity of the symptoms of coronvirus, with some people effected more so than others, so I thought I'd write down how it effected me. I was one of those lucky enough to have the very mildest of symptoms so for me if felt no more than a severe cold. In fact if I never heard of the coronavirus I would have likely passed it off as just that.

On Tuesday 24th March, two days before my birthday I may add, I felt fine and it was just a normal day. At 2 PM however I let out a sudden cough. It felt odd, far heavier than normal, throbbing my chest in the process. I still passed it off as nothing but a normal cough but it continued throughout the day throbbing and hurting my chest in the process. When I say throughout the day I don't mean constant I mean more like one cough per hour or so. The cough would shoot out unexpected giving me no time to prepare with an intake of breath, before trying to let out another. I was often trying to cough with empty lungs causing my chest to throb further.

I also had a sore throat and catarrh but I think it was down to the caught itself causing my throat to become irritated rather than the irritation causing the cough. It was very much a lung cough rather than a throat cough.

It wasn't until the next day that I realised this wasn't a normal cold and likely the coronavirus. I'm very much a recluse at the best of times, only going out when necessary, so it was a surprise to catch it.

I was expecting to get a fever too as coughing and fever are the usual symptoms mentioned but as far as I know I never became sweaty. I never felt overly hot or cold at all. I had read that fever is something that if you have you are certain you have it, yet on TV people were having their temperature taken on their foreheads on their way to work which appeared rather odd to me.

I did have a continuous headache however, not a strong one, but the kind of headache where I felt the urge to simply lay down watching TV.

Looking back I also realise I didn't have my normal appetite. I'd eat a proper normal sized dinner each day but nothing else.

I noticed that I was coughing far less if I laid down, which is the exact opposite to how I'm like with a usual cough. I'd lay as often as I could, putting my mouth under the sheets at times to repress my urge to cough. I slept a lot. I'd sleep all night, get up early, then lay on the sofa sleeping again. My intention was to sleep the illness away allowing my immunity to do all the work.

Incidentally I read online to only call 111 (not 999) if you're venerable or if the symptoms persist for over a week.

It took until the weekend for the cough to fade into just a slight cough which still persists (3rd April) but no more than a few painless coughs per day or so. I don't have a sore throat anymore or headaches.

I took a number of paracetamol throughout the day which I discovered contained caffeine. That, combined with the fact that I had slept so much meant I suddenly couldn't sleep for about two days putting my entire routine out of whack. Also spending so much time in bed has given me throbbing back pains but these too are easing off.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Talking Off-Subject

When using social media I make posts related to what is mentioned within my profile. So on my Facebook author page I will only talk about book related content, whether it's my books in particular or books from other authors. I may also mention World Book Day and the like, but never talk off-subject. Twitter is different as I often talk about non-book related subjects but the subjects I talk about are still listed within my profile. It'll be about 75% book related but I'll also talk about anime, movies and art too.

The reason for this blog entry is I've noticed a very odd trend recently. I've been following a lot of famous authors on Twitter and at first it felt amazing to be able to make contact with such people, but I've noticed they won't post a single entry talking about the subject of books. I won't mention their names but a lot of famous authors will rant about politics even to the extent of lecturing their followers as though they are somehow morally better people than their fans. One writer in particular only talks about Donald Trump comparing him to Hitler in a lot of cases.

I'm all for political discussions by the way so if that's what someone wishes to use their Twitter page for then I'm all for that. What I'm referring to is when someone has a page to promote themselves or their work and only rants about politics.

I met an artist who drew beautiful illustrations, mainly of cats, and was giving out her contact cards at a convention. When I saw her Twitter page rather than talk about her art it was just page after page of Donald Trump and Brexit posts.

Personally I think it best to stick to subject.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

London Comic Con Spring 2020

Last week on Saturday I attended London Comic Con Spring. It was very similar to The London Film & Comic Con being it was organised by the same company Showmasters and was the same venue at Olympia but did differ in some ways. It was far smaller for instance and didn't make use of the full hall.

I cosplayed as Tom Baker's Dr Who and met a lot of other Dr Who cosplayers. I already suspected there'd be a lot of Dr Who cosplayers on account of the Dr Who actors that were attending, albeit with some of them cancelling before the event. In fact there were a lot of cancellations.

I met Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy and got their autographs. I also met some professional cosplayers getting their autographs as well as photos. Ironically even though I had people taking photos of me in my cosplay I had neglected to take any of myself.

The James Bond Aston Martin was on display. Whether it was the original car or just for display I wasn't sure. It was covered with scratches along its sides but I suspected they were painted on.

I was a little miffed that there was no DVD stall or anime comic stand which was often the case at other conventions. I did purchase Japanese sweets as well as a comic called The Rabbit along with other bits and bobs of memorabilia. I particularly liked the framed art of Lara Croft.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Page Foxing

While sorting through my bookshelf I noticed a book that I had yet to get around to reading. I remembered purchasing it not long ago but with so many other books to get through I hadn't started it.

As I leafed through the pages I noticed it was full of brown stains particularly around the edges of each page with various degrees of foxing. I've read books from the 1800s before so it's not something that I've any particular issue with. In fact brown stains, along with the smell of ink, can add a certain charm to a book.

The thing is though this isn't a book from the 1800s. It's The Veiled One by Ruth Rendell. This particular edition from 1989. I've got other books from the same period, kept on the same shelf, in near perfect condition.

I'll still read it, it's not something that puts me off, but I do find it odd how some books age faster than others. I'm guessing it's down to the paper and the process of printing more so than how the book was kept.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Forgotten The Title

I was thinking about this recently about books that have influenced me over the years and while I can list many I realise there's one book in particular that I've totally forgotten the name of. While some well written books have really got me into writing, others have had the opposite effect, but there was one book in particular that taught me how to write in a particular style whilst avoiding cliches. To sum it up the story was terrible, a layer of cliches upon cliches, with a completely predicable ending, yet at the same time it was a real page turner, a very easy read.

The story is about a man who has an apartment in South America. It is soon to be Mardi Gras and the president is going to attend a parade so a group of terrorists decide it's the best time to assassinate him. The best location to shoot him from is within the man's apartment so a female terrorist befriends the man and tricks him into falling in love with her. If I remember rightly her name was Maria. She then reveals her plans to him but he is smitten with her so goes along with the plan and allows the terrorists to use his apartment. The assassination goes wrong and they are all on the run and hide within a cave. One by one each terrorist is caught and gets shot by the police apart from the main character and Maria who catch a plane to North America.

Every inch of Maria is detailed, her wide gummy smile, her wavy raven hair, her button nose, her hourglass figure, the shape of her swollen nipples, the shape of her breasts and the wiggle of her walk. Bare in mind this isn't an erotica, she was never naked in a single scene. The men are described as a bearded man, a moustached man, a smooth shaven man, etc. The one thing that stands out the most of me is the scene where they hide within a cave. It's pouring with rain at the time and while essentially nothing happens, other than exploring the cave and getting muddy, it's an entire chapter and was far more detailed than the events leading up to it.

While the plot was completely far fetched and the ending predictable it was still such an enjoyable read. It's both a lesson on how not to write a book and how to not write one at the same time. It may have been a cliche but if that was what the author intended then it was a masterpiece.