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R.I.P Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted by Josh Griffiths on March 12, 2015 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I remember the very first time I picked up a Terry Pratchett book. It was The Color of Magic at my local library when I was 17. I took it home, having heard so much about this great writer, and I hated it. I couldn't tell you why, but it just didn't click with me.


Years later, at the same library, I saw a stack of books that were being sold for cheap. These books were in great condition as well, so I'm not sure why they were being sold. Anyway, I saw in that stack A Hat Full of Sky, and wanting to give Discworld a second chance, I bought it.


I took it home that day and finished it three days later. It blew my mind, how elegantly written it was, the powerful message behind it, and the humor it contained. It was so well written I didn't even realize it was actually the second book in the Tiffany Aching storyline.


From then on, I bought as many Terry Pratchett books as I could find, and only half way through his bibliography, I haven't found a book I didn't like yet. It's very easy to say that he is my favorite author of all time, no offense John Steinbeck.


My favorite book has to be either Hat Full of Sky or Men at Arms. In fact, Sergeant Angua from the Watch series is my favorite fictional character of all time. If you thought Brooklyn from War Trash seemed familiar, there you go.


He didn't inspire me to write, I have to admit, but he did inspire me to write for a living. He showed me that even someone as goofy as me could write something that would reach and inspire people. I'm still working on that now, but Mildred Clarance On Writing is an absolute love letter to Pratchett, even if it isn't all that great honestly.


Rest in Peace Terry Pratchett, and best wishes to your friends and family. His death came too soon, and we lost a great man today.

The New Youtube Push - Version 2.0

Posted by Josh Griffiths on March 3, 2015 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

 

It’s been about seven months since I started making Youtube videos on a semi-regular basis. In that amount of time, I had little success, but I learned a lot. I launched with three series, Free Indie Games, Misc Wednesday, and The Write Lane. The former failed miserably, as I vastly underestimated the amount of work it would require, not to mention I felt phony for making instructional videos on how to write when I could barely do it myself.

 

Learning gives you the ability to make changes, and I’m happy to announce some changes with my Youtube schedule, and what I’ll be doing.

 

Free Indie Games had a damn good run, and I’m proud of what I did in 13 videos. However, the series is coming to an end. In its place, I’m working on a similar series for Gamersyndrome.com, a site I started writing for. It’ll focus on free indie games as well, but it’ll be more in depth with a greater focus on the mechanics of games, and why they’re good or bad. I might even have a co-host! However, those videos will be going up on the Gamersyndrome Youtube page, along with another series I can’t talk about yet.

 

Misc. Wednesday is staying put as well, thought with a different day and name. It will now be Mundaye Starter, a combination of Mundane and Monday if you were wondering. This series will likely be every other week from now on, as I have a lot on my plate. It will still be about whatever I want it to be however. I don’t believe in having a channel that only does one thing, I want to cover a lot of different topics.

 

I have a new series as well, called Alistair Newton’s Fallen London. It’s a let’s play series in which I play Fallen London, centered on Alistair Newton, London’s Greatest Detective. That’s not actually the case, he’s a rookie detective who is incredibly flamboyant and has a grating personality, but he means well. Mostly. This series is actually twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday.

 

One of my biggest successes was the first season of Forgotten History. I’ve been working on a second season for a few months now, and I’m finally ready to start posting episodes March 11th. This season will have 7 episodes, two more from the previous, and will feature a less stiff narration from yours truly. You can expect an episode every Wednesday for seven weeks, then I have another mystery project lined up that I’m really excited about.

 

Besides the videos, I’ve completely overhauled my Youtube channel. I added an ‘About Me’ section, a new banner and thumbnail, updated the homepage, and made a weird channel trailer. You can see it here on my ‘Videos’ tab.

 

So yeah, I’m pretty excited about the direction of the channel. I’m up to 47 subscribers somehow. Apparently even Failbetter Games is subscribed to my channel, so that’s surprising! I wonder if they’ll like my Fallen London LP series, its not entirely positive.

 

Oh yeah, my policy on not saying “be sure to like and subscribe” every five minutes remains.

The Evolution of Brooklyn (contains spoilers)

Posted by Josh Griffiths on January 26, 2015 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I don’t like tooting my own horn (or making fart jokes) but I really like what I’ve done with Brooklyn. I promise, this will be the only blog I write in which I talk myself up. Don’t worry, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops.

 

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say Brooklyn is by far everyone’s favorite character. Not Graham Edmond, voiced by myself, so points off for that. It’s easy to say Brooklyn is so loved because she is a woman, because she’s headstrong, her excellent voice acting (you have Kristyn Mass for that), or due to her past. However, all of the characters share these traits, especially Graham Edmond whom I voice. Did I mention that? He’s pretty cool.

 

I say the public opinion of Brooklyn is so strong likely because, being the narcissist that I am, she is my favorite character as well. Not Graham Edmond who I voice and blah, blah, blah. Perhaps my opinion is skewed in that regard; however I do know her true origin. Of course I’m not talking about her origin, that’s told almost entirely in War Trash. Instead I refer to how I originally envisioned her as a character.

 

When I first devised War Trash, in fact even after the first draft of the outline, Brooklyn was very different from how you know her today. Back then, she was a drug addicted whore who had sex with everyone, not because she was a liberated woman, but because I wanted the player to feel dirty. Brooklyn was essentially a dick holster; someone you slept with and did drugs with to establish your cover as a mercenary terrorist, as well something to establish the gang as a group of “bad” people.

 

I realized there are very few games that had a strong female lead, and far too many games that feature an over-sexualized woman there solely for the benefit of teenage boys. I also hated how I set up prostitutes as “bad” people. That simply isn’t true, and it’s a cliché that needs to be stopped.

 

The act of poisoning Freeside and killing innocent people was still part of the package, which is why I was comfortable in changing things. Thinking back on how I originally designed Brooklyn makes me sick to my stomach, even as I’m writing this.

 

The fact of the matter is having a strong female is more interesting than the same old clichés. You’d expect a man to go on a hate filled rage, becoming a soldier so he could kill the people that slaughtered his family. You expect a man to torture someone to extract information, or to inadvertently say he doesn’t care about the lives of one of his men. That kind of thing rarely, if ever, happens with a woman.

 

I decided to play on everyone’s expectations. I remember when Alchestbreach played War Trash and he found Brooklyn’s diary before meeting her. He thought Brooklyn was a man and said he felt sorry for him, and that he’d like to meet him. Then he was totally shocked when he realized Brooklyn was a woman.

 

One thing that did make the final cut of War Trash that I regret is Brooklyn’s rape backstory. It seems even I can’t escape the “wanting to show everyone I’m strong” cliché. To double down on the double downing, I’m well aware of the fact that I did the same thing with Olivia. Although it is a bit more justified here since DWNB was actively about slavery. That’s my excuse anyway.

 

My own incompetence doesn’t stop there. In the original draft for Do We Not Bleed (called Buried at the time), Brooklyn was going to die towards the end. She was going to take a bullet for Edmond, and he would get angry and go on a killing spree, which is grounds enough for removal due to another cliché. It was on upon reflection I realized her death did nothing to further (or rather end) her story. Her death would have only reinforced Edmond’s narrative. Brooklyn deserves more than that, by a lot.

 

Truth be told Brooklyn is the most important character in the series. Edmond was a minor character in War Trash, and while his importance grew exponentially in Do We Not Bleed the real heart of the series comes from Brooklyn. I’m incredibly proud of all the characters and their dialogue with one another, but something about Brooklyn clicks with me. She is absolutely the best character I ever wrote.

 

The writing is only half of what makes Brooklyn great. I’m proud to have Kristyn Mass as the voice of Brooklyn. It’s funny, Brooklyn was the first character I cast, and Kristyn was the first voice actor I contacted in my life. I essentially wrote a novel detailing the plot, the character, and why she should accept the role. Again, I have to give Kristyn credit, where most people would back off, she immediately accepted, just like that. If only every character was that easy to cast…

 

My hope is that other writers will read this and realize that while stereotype’s and clichés sometimes have their place, they’re better off being left out. Examine your characters, especially the female’s, and ask yourself if they’re strong and interesting. Also be sure to find a great voice actress as well, don’t simply grab your sister or raise the pitch of your own voice.

 

Fun fact: I was going to do a trailer in which I would appear on camera and say that I replaced Kristyn with Kiefer Sutherland. I would have downloaded some of Sutherland’s lines from Ground Zeroes and put them in the mod, then show it off in the video as well as clips from him in that reveal trailer where he did the monkey face. I didn’t do it because I was afraid people wouldn’t get it, plus I was worried about copyright stuff. I can promise you it would have been hilarious.

 

Oh, and for those asking, Brooklyn’s real name is

Announcing War Trash 2

Posted by Josh Griffiths on October 16, 2014 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Nine months after the events of War Trash 1, DAI Agent Graham Edmond is hot on the trail of a slaver known as Hale. Psychotically secretive, few people know of his existence. However, his hands pull the strings on the largest sex trade in the Mojave and beyond.

 

Joining Edmond and Courier Six on the hunt for Hale is Brooklyn, who only just managed to escape the NCR at the Mojave Bridge. Now running her own mercenary business, she’s burning for revenge and a chance at justice. But will their experiences after the War Trash incident be enough to prepare them for the horrors of the slave trade? Find out in Dragon Ba— War Trash 2.

 

You can find the trailer under the "VIDEOS" tab.

 

War Trash 2: Do We Not Bleed features over 1,000 fully voiced lines from 14 different actors. It spans six quests, and should take somewhere around 3 hours to complete.

 

I can’t believe it’s taken nine months to make this mod. I could have had a real baby in the amount of time. I guess on the bright side mods don’t crap themselves... no, that’s a fairly regular occurrence actually. Nevermind. I’m still putting in the last of the voice acting and I have a few bugs and compatibility issues to fix, but everything looks set for a release at the end of the month.

 

I’d like to get daily updates going on the Nexus thread from now until release. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I’ll try to be more active on the forums more often.

A Different Perspective on GamerGate

Posted by Josh Griffiths on September 8, 2014 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (1)

While #GamerGate is… underway, it’s important to remember that the world beyond video games is one that doesn’t stop for anything. As people continue to harass and force others out of the game industry, we should all remember to stop and look outside our window. Maybe then we’ll see some truly putrid things going on.

 

Take for example the Ray Rice situation.

 

Ray Rice is a football player for the Baltimore Ravens. Actually, he’s formerly of the Ravens. He was released from the team today (September 8th) fired as you and I might call it, or sacked if you prefer.

 

On February 15, 2014, Rice and his then fiancée Janay Palmer were arrested and charged with assault after a fight between the two broke out at Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Shortly thereafter, TMZ released security footage of Rice dragging the unconscious Palmer out of an elevator. Eye witnesses say that there was no fight, but rather Rice hit Palmer and knocked her out.

 

In March, Rice pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated assault, and married Janay Palmer. In a press conference, Rice apologized for the incident and Palmer vehemently defended her now husband, saying that she was the aggressor and it was her fault. The NFL suspended Rice for two games and the issue seemed to be over for the most part.

 

Until today.

 

Today, TMZ released more security footage. The new video shows not only Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of the elevator, but the act itself. Rice is seen entering the elevator, smacking Palmer in what appears to be an unprovoked manner, and then punching her in the side of the head, rendering her unconscious.

 

As a result, Ray Rice has been released by the Ravens and has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

 

There are conflicted reports about whether or not the NFL had access to the video prior to today. Several websites are reporting that the NFL did in fact see it, but the NFL is saying that they asked the police for access and were denied. What is clear at this point is that the police themselves did indeed have access to the footage.

 

At time of writing, there are no hashtags, no #ESPNGate, no #NFLGate, no #PoliceGate. There’s no one decrying how the journalists handled this situation, no one asking why the video didn’t make its way online sooner. It stands to reason that if there’s a camera directly outside the elevator, then there has to be one inside as well right? Did journalists not ask about it? Were they denied access and just not mention it?

 

To be fair, people were upset about Rice only getting a two game suspension. This anger was perpetuated by the fact that another NFL player, Josh Gordon, was suspended a full year (16 games) for substance abuse and a DUI. That substance being marijuana according to reports.

 

The media did a good job covering the debate; how can someone who smoked marijuana and got a DUI have a punishment 8x more severe than someone who “allegedly” beat his fiancée? What the media did not do, however, was ask the appropriate questions about the incident. They did not delve into the specifics of the case, they did not know of or bother to find the security footage taken from inside the elevator, and they just moved on relatively quickly.

 

Yes there’s outrage on social media now, and indeed there was outrage prior to this video being leaked. But the outrage is directed at Rice and the once again failed justice system of the US. No one is angry at the media for not discovering this video earlier.


No one is mad because the media is not asking why the NFL would suspend him indefinitely only now despite the fact they knew he was found guilty in a court of law. Above all no one seems to care that questions aren’t being asked about the safety of Janay Palmer, who is now married to her abuser and clearly forced to lie about the situation to the world.

 

Meanwhile #GamerGate erupted immediately, all because an ex-boyfriend alleged a woman had sex with a man.

 

Let's not forget where this all started; a free visual novel called Depression Quest was released on Twine that dealt with depression. Zoe Quinn, its creator, received death threats and harassment for daring to make a game about depression and releasing it on Steam. Fast-forward to Zoe’s ex-boyfriend alleging that she slept some guy who wrote a positive review for the game on Kotaku, and all hell broke loose.

 

That’s ignoring the fact that a large audience already hated Depression Quest. That’s ignoring the fact that a large audience already hated Kotaku.

 

Since then the whole thing has spiraled into a twisted mess of harassment, hatred, calls for ethics reforms, and wild conspiracy theories all at once. People are declaring war on one another over “Social Justice” and game reviews and carving up battle lines like its fucking World War III.

 

Game journalism has its issues, issues that need to be addressed. But the issue isn't with game journalists. We all remember the Jeff Gerstmann incident a few years ago. That wasn't a case of a games journalist being corrupt, it was the people above him. It was the AAA publishers and advertisers making shady, backroom deals with the owners and editors of Gamespot. Not with people writing game reviews, not with people who simply want to talk about the thing they love.

 

Just as game journalism is flawed, so too is this notion of the "SJW" and needing to go to war to try and stop people who only want to be treated equally. The term “Social Justice Warrior” is a disposable, throwaway term that invalidates the need to establish an argument. You can just type three letters and move on with your day instead of articulating your thoughts. This sudden explosion is nothing more than the pent up feelings of everyone who simply types “SJW” and calls it an victory.

 

The fact of the matter is #GamerGate #Yoloswag is a movement born of hatred and bigotry. It’s a movement that wants to return to the status quo. That status quo being that games should be about fun and entertainment and nothing else. The idea that games should not touch on political or social issues and should be nothing more than stomping on the heads of Goomba’s and shooting the bad guys in Call of Duty. That’s why #GamerGate is going after journalists with a history of writing about equality and indie developers who deal with topics the AAA industry wouldn’t touch.

 

Gaming has been around for about thirty years now. In the grand scheme of the world, that’s not very long. Novels used to be about a hero fighting some bull or some mythological creature and saving the world. Movies used to be about comedians having houses fall on them and vampires biting people. Both mediums have evolved, and it’s time that video games do as well. But evolution comes at the cost of that status quo, those childhood memories of simply sitting back and playing the NES, SNES, Genesis, what have you and experience the joy of getting killed over and over again and not letting that game beat you.

 

The status quo is safe, familiar, and comfortable, and having to deal with games like Depression Quest that deal with topics video games have largely ignored is scary. Having women and minorities say they want to be better represented in games is different. Writers pointing out the sexism and racism of the current gaming climate is seen as an attack. The same way gun owners think the government is going to come around to their house and round up their weapons is the same mentality owned by proponents of #GamerGate; that women and minorities and white men “who only want to get laid” are going to come to your childhood home and rip your NES out of the wall.

 

The evolution of video games will be a painful one. Games will change, and the way games are covered and talked about will change. There’s nothing wrong with thinking that game journalists need to reform their ethical guidelines. Hell, I’d say there’s nothing wrong thinking that games should just be about fun if that’s what you want. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to harass or to send death threats, or to shove your fingers in your ears and to ignore everything game journalists are saying about the issues right now.

 

#GamerGate is destined to fail because its foundation is that of hate and bigotry brought on by fear and hysteria. Change cannot begin until this poisonous “movement” is over. Those who want their “just for fun” games will still have their games, and those who want games to be more inclusive will have their games as well.

 

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, video games are just another form of entertainment media. There are more important things going on in the world that need to be addressed. Things like Ray Rice and his now wife Janay Palmer. Things like the war in Ukraine, the wars in the Middle-East, Scottish Independence, Ferguson, and most importantly the journalists that are supposed to cover those events.

 

The world is a shitty place, and instead of trying to make it better everyone is more worried about harassing people who just want to write about and make video games.

The Youtube Push

Posted by Josh Griffiths on August 27, 2014 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

For a while now I've wanted to start making content for Youtube. Content sounds a lot better than videos, doesn't it? So many channels just stick to one thing and only one thing and I want to branch out into a bunch of different videos. I want to bring variety and a slightly new voice to Youtube. So much of it is off the cuff, unscripted, "real" videos I want to do something different.


So starting... two days ago (I didn't think to blog this until now, sue me) I'm launching my "official" Youtube channel. It's going to be all scripted and unique content with the aim of both helping the viewer and showing off some cool and interesting stuff. The videos on offer for now are:


Monday - Free Indie Games

Wednesday - Miscellaneous Wednesday

Friday - The Write Lane Podcast


Free Indie Games is a series that I've dabbled with before, and it's pretty self-explanatory.


Misc Wednesday will be whatever I want to talk about (today it'll be about the South Korean film industry) and can be anything from films, to let's plays, to cooking; you name it.


Friday's Write Lane is a podcast I'm really excited about. It's a series of podcast ranging from 15 minutes to an hour in which I give writing tips to those who want to pursue the craft. But it's not just me telling you what to do. Instead, I'm actually starting my own short story from scratch, and I'll be taking you through the process of planning, writing, editing, and selling it. I'll be explaining why I do certain things and the techniques I like to use. I'll also be talking about video games, screenplays, and even non-fiction writing as well.


The first video is already up on my Youtube channel, and you can see the first Misc Wednesday later today. I've got some lofty goals for my channel, including some ideas to do one video a day in a few months. But for now, this is the line-up and what everything's about.


And don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to "like and subscribe and share the video with your friends" after every video. Although I certainly wouldn't mind you doing so. Unfortunately the link function isn't working on this site (again) so you can either go to the "Videos" tab or to the "Links" tab to find a direct link to my channel.

College: What is it Good For?

Posted by Josh Griffiths on August 24, 2014 at 5:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I have succesfully eluded classrooms for two years. They're wretched things, aren't they? Always smelling of pencil shavings and snot. Unfortunately for me, that streak comes to an end tomorrow at 8am. I’m not looking forward to it, I’m not interested in the pressure, especially not with Do We Not Bleed so close to completion and my Youtube efforts growing. But alas, I’m two semesters away from graduating so I can’t quit now.

 

Up until now I’ve been able to take online classes exclusively, with a few exceptions. But from this point on, all my classes must be taken at the college until I graduate, the exception for one class. The first such class is Biology, which was split into two classes (thus forcing me to pay twice) a lab and a lecture.

 

Of course the lecture would come fir- oh wait no, the lab is first because my college is run by idiots. What’s worse is that we’re going to be partnered up, and I know now because I’m going to be stuck with some moron who doesn’t want to do anything.

 

On top of that I just found out yesterday I’m now on academic warning, because my grades were so low from the previous semester. Last semester was my first time taking classes in a year due to a mistake on the part of the college, a problem exacerbated when I had to take Psychology 101 again, the only class I have ever failed in my life. I ended up with D, and due to work on Do We Not Bleed I got a C in English Literature II. I got an A in English Literature I.

 

Clearly college isn’t too important to me so you might be wondering why I even bother. Truth is I’ve been asking myself that rather consistently, more so after the screw up that left me on the outside looking in for a year. I’ve never considered college to be very important, after I graduated high school I spent a year working two dead end jobs and dabbling in video game “journalism”. Maybe it was those lackluster experiences which drove me to college.

 

Writing was something I was always good at, but I didn’t consider trying to make a living from it until my senior year. I knew I had a long way to go, I still do, and I figured the best place to learn was college. So with a healthy donation from my parents (thank you) I signed up for some classes. The first few years I focused on classes that would benefit my writing. English Literature, Journalism, Fiction Writing, Screenwriting and so on. I took a few other things like Computer Tech and Public Speaking, stuff that would go towards my degree but I never took any of those classes seriously because that wasn’t what I was there.

 

Of course, loading all your important classes to the front of your schedule causes its own problems. I’ve already taken all the English and writing classes that’ll count to my degree, so all I have left are two math classes, two science classes, and two electives.

 

I entered college with the idea of taking writing classes and dropping out when I felt I learned all I could. But in taking the occasional Computer or Psychology class I managed to stumble and fumble my way close to a degree. I realized my graduation would be a year away and I’d be the first in my family to put on the cap and gown. How could I pass this up?

 

At least, that’s what I thought when I signed up for classes back in May. Now with my another semester over, an academic warning standing behind me breathing in my ear, and ten months of classes still to complete I’m beginning to question my motives.

 

I realize this blog is a rambling mess, and even a little confusing, but I’m having trouble thinking straight right now. That’s why I wrote this mess knowing no one in their right mind would read it.

 

I’m confused as to what to do, and my future is very much in doubt. It’s too bad American high schools don’t teach you how to be an adult, how to plan your future. As far as I can remember it was nothing more than “you better hurry and decide what you want to do for the rest of your life RIGHT NOW AND GO TO COLLEGE OR YOU’LL BE DUMB FOREVER!”

 

I wonder how I went from a 15 year old kid (or was it 14?) first entering high school to a 22 year old worrying about who I’ll be paired with in Biology 101. Is this really what I want to do with my life? Of course not, but more importantly is this going to lead me to where I want to go? Honestly, I’m not seeing it right now. I’m lost and confused and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. You know, just the normal young adult stuff.

War Trash 2.0 Update

Posted by Josh Griffiths on July 28, 2014 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I think I’m finally ready to announce this, but yes, War Trash update 2.0 is in the works and will be out soon. Now that War Trash’s sequel is going into the testing/acting phase, I’ve had some free time. I once made the joke that War Trash was held together with spit and a bit of string, but after taking a look at it after all these months, I think that’s a fairly accurate assessment.

 

So how soon will the update be out, you ask? I’m hoping next week actually. At this point it’s out of my hands, as I’m waiting on some new voice acting. It will definitely be out by August 11th at the very latest.

 

You may have noticed that I skipped a few numbers and went straight to the futuristic 2.0 designation. Is this jump warranted? Absolutely, for I have fixed and added several things.

 

I’ll have the full list of additions and fixes when it’s released, but right now I can say that there will be a brand new side quest, three new and fully voiced characters, and I’m opening the town of Corn Creek.

 

As for bug fixes: I’m fixing that stupid Ian Black spawning bug once and for all, I took out the weird Octavius disappearing thing, completely overhauled the navmesh in every area, and I’ve rebalanced the difficulty slightly. I’m hoping to fix the Freeside Open compatibility issue, but that’s going to have to wait for 2.1, sorry. There will be more fixes of course, that’s just a sample.

 

I know I haven’t been active on the forums lately, if at all. For that I apologize, but the honest truth is I have severe social anxiety issues. I’m far too worried about the negative comments and insults. But I have been keeping an eye on the page, and I noticed a strange spike in popularity recently. War Trash is now in the 47th most endorsed quest mod, and for a first attempt, I think that’s pretty good.

 

For that I can only say is thank you. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed War Trash despite its glaring flaws and ugly, laggy trailer. Here’s hoping 2.0 will make it great and with any luck War Trash will become the 42nd most endorsed mod.

Other Wurldly Published - Sort Of

Posted by Josh Griffiths on June 23, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

A few months ago I was working on my own fanfiction, minus everything that comes with fanfiction of course.


I was, as a fan, going to write a "serious" story involving the Discworld universe. I wanted it to be well written, well thought out, funny, and above all pay respect to the established world. No random sex scenes between Vimes and Lord Vetinari or anything like that.


To do this, I came up with a completely original story and an original cast of characters. I set it in Ankh-Morpork becuase that's the law, and I even sparingly threw in a few established characters. While I was writing it, I truly felt like it could belong in the Discworld universe, and that I was doing a good job.


Then I found out about a story called "The Last Hero" halfway through writing. The Last Hero is a short story, a novella one might say. I didn't know about it when I started writing Other Wurldly, the name of my story.


Unfortunately, The Last Hero contains several scenes that completely destroy the carefully crafted story I set out to write.


Other Wurdly was about the Discworld moon, the travel to get there, and the character's journey to be the first there (whether they wanted to be or not). Anyone who is a fan of Terry Pratchett knows he likes to saterize or paroday real life events. In Other Wurdly, that pardoy was of the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union. Ankh-Morpork was racing to get the moon before their rival Klatch.


But The Last Hero goes into great detail about the Discworld moon, everything from Moon Flowers to Moon Dragons, and how Carrot and others were the first to land there, and talking about their adventures. I wanted to keep writing OW, but I just couldn't justify it after hearing about The Last Hero. Everything was in ruins, and I lost all motivation.


But over the last few days I've recently rediscovered the piece, and I am still quite proud of it. It needs a lot of edting which it'll never get, and of course I only got halfway through it. But I still think its a good read, and I want to tell myself that all that work wasn't entirely in vain. So I've posted the half finished novel to Fanfiction.net, barely edited and incomplete. Wil it fail like Mildred Clarance or will it take off like War Trash? Only time will tell.


Yeah, its gonna bomb. That fact of course not being helped by the fact that I can't insert a link in this blog for some reason. Typical. Well if you want to read it, its listed under the "My Works" tab. Its the first option under "Writing", you can't miss it. Unless you want to, then I wouldn't blame you.

Pen Pals - Because I Don't Have Real Friends

Posted by Josh Griffiths on June 2, 2014 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Why the hell am I posting a blog abou tpen pals? Because it’s my blog and I get to post whatever I want. I don’t tell you what condiments to get on your product placement free burger at generic unnamed fast food chain do I? Incidentally, I have no problem with you putting ketchup on that hotdog.

 

I remember back when I was a kid,specifically in 3rd grade. I was seven or eight years old at the time and my teacher introduced us to a certain writing program. We were supposed to write letters, and this was almost fifteen years ago so we had to write that crap by hand, and then send them off. Weeks later, most of us got a reply from those very same people. To me, getting a letter from someone from the other side of the world was magical.

 

To this day, I don’t remember who that person was, or where they lived. I had the thought in my head that it was one of those “write to prisoner and they reply programs that’s supposed to help both of you in life” programs until I realized that isn’t actually a thing. Now I’ve got it in my head that it was just some kid in Indiana or Iowa. Not quite as exciting, as it?

 

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about this lately, but I want to rekindle that love of pen pals. Hand writing letters is completely obsolete in this day and age. I’ve had friends on the internet from as far away as Sweden, people I’ve talked to on a regular basis. Not to mention the potential safety concern of giving a total stranger your home address. And pray to whatever god you believe in (or don’t) that you don’t open a letter and suddenly find yourself shrouded in a white cloud of dust.

 

So why am I willing to risk becoming the poster boy for a full scale US military invasion of Turkmenistan? Is it just for the nostalgia of handwriting a letter and anxiously waiting for that red, white, and blue bordered envelope to show up in my mailbox? Or am I so desperate for a friend that I’m willing to possibly end up on an FBI watch list for saying “hello” to a pretty Pakistani girl I found on the internet?

 

Honestly, it’s a bit of both. Or maybe it’s there’s more to it than that. I don’t know.

 

The search for a new pen pal begins innocently enough by searching Google. There are plenty of sites catering to “spiritually” old farts like myself looking for some excitement in revealing our every personal detail to a stranger. But they’re all email based, and I realize the extreme stupidity in wanting to actually wanting to trade paper correspondence.

 

I shift my thinking, and allow myself to speak semi-anonymously to someone online. I’m a soon to be 22 year old man. I know a scam when I see one, and I know I trap when I see one grumble grumble.

 

I go straight to the first site listed on Google, PenPalWorld. Then I leave just as quickly, as its not free. I go to the next site, InterPals. I start doing a search for people and immediately get creeped out that the site lets me look up 16 year old girls from across the world, and leave based on sheer principle.

 

Third on the list is Wikipedia, and I don’t think I’m going to make any friends there. In fact, I’ve gotten into arguments with people there about certain articles. You know you’re a nerd when you start arguing about the accuracy of an article based on Joseph Warren, and not one of those “cool” nerds either.

 

Finally, at number four, PenpalsNow! gives me hope, they even included the exclamation mark so you know they’re serious. I see they have an age group for 13 year olds and throw my hands up in disgust. That’s okay I guess… right? Kids would want pen pals, right? Right?

 

The first thing I did was to search for women aged 19-22, putting myself someone between the “kids” that search for 13 year olds to write for, and a desperate old man looking for a mail order bride.

 

What am I looking for? I don’t know. I want someone outside the United States, at least. No offense my fellow countrymen, it’s just that I want some culture, some excitement. There’s nothing exciting about Wyoming or Maine. Why a woman? Is this some kind of Freudian thing? This isn’t about finding a girlfriend, this is about connecting with people, and I’ve always had an easier time connect with women than men.

 

Can two strangers from different countries come together over the internet and befriend one another? Yes, that is what this little experiment of mine will be about.

 

Through much searching, I found nothing. Not because I didn’t find anyone I didn’t like, because I didn’t know what to say. I am completely incapable of making the first move. So for weeks, this little experiment of mine went on the shelf with so many other projects and ideas.

 

But a few days ago, while browsing my empty Okcupid profile, I realized that I got a message. A message, for me? And it’s not one of those “thanks for joining lol” or “we’re having a hangout 3000 miles away from you come join” kinda things. It’s an actual message from an actual human being, saying hi.

 

I don’t want a relationship, I’ve worked that out. But I do want an online/pen pal friend. That’s the whole point of this, isn’t it? Will we become “besties”? Will we start writing letters? Will Batman stop the Joker in time for blowing up a daycare center? Find out next time, on my boring blog!

 

Thanks for listening.

 


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