Got gas on the way home (actually, had to go a bit out of my way for it, since the way home is straight and I had to turn right), and then...well, my mom was on the desktop. So did I do writing, like a responsible person would?
...Well, just before this blog post, a few sentences, sure. In the rewrite, I'm dealing with the lengthy flashback part which I absolutely hate with a passion. I need to pick up a third-person perspective book and see how other third person writers write their dialog, because this has been my bane for ten years. (I started seriously writing about when I was 13, and my 23rd birthday is coming up, so yes, basically a solid ten years, I've had the exact same struggle with third person dialog. There's a reason so many of my better stories are written in first person!)
I just don't know how to make it work. How do you keep it from being two characters just talking, one quote after another? How?!? By adding descriptors? But there's only so many ways to say "He responds, now he responds, and then there's a further response, leading to this response"! I can break it up somewhat by incorporating body language. But that's not an easy task either. Describing the motions is easy enough, but then how to transition back into the dialog?
I mean...here, take a look at a couple recent bits.
“Is it a ritual?”
Sharp mind and a good sense of curiosity; he may surpass me yet. “Good guess, but not exactly.” Leaning down on his knees and facing his son, his blue eyes melted with warmth. “We got gifts. Remember what I said earlier?”
“She’ll figure it out anyway, always does, but by then, I’ll have you hooked. I’m going to give you something you won’t ever want to let go of.” Patting the boy’s shoulders, he finished. “Knowledge. It may not seem like the best present now, but trust me…sooner or later, you’ll love it.”
While keeping one eye on his son, the man stood up, turned around, and began walking. “This route’s a longer walk than most, so we’ll have time to talk as we get to where we’re going. Before we you go further, recognize you shouldn’t take a step more if you want to stay at your age. This is the real world; most adults don’t understand it as well as I do.”
Yeah, the dialog itself may be slightly awkward, which certainly doesn't help, but...transitions are HARD. I can't figure them out at all. Not getting repetitive, in dialog content OR in text, is really dang hard! I mean, you can see it just here when I'm blogging. That double-usage of hard? Okay in a blog. If you're at all familiar with me as a person, which literally every reader of my blog is (because only a few people, mostly friends, even bother to read it), you'd already know my natural writing style is verbose and very repetitive. But...as a WRITER.
Not only can I not afford such repetitions, I hold myself to a higher standard such that even if I could, I never would. No matter what my natural writing may be in average-day online conversation, me as a writer is just about as different as the sharp contrast between real-life me and online-me: sure, there are some vague similarities, but we're polar opposites in almost every way. Same goes for my writing. My posting's mundane.
I mean, I do try to make it flow well, sometimes even tell a story, but first and foremost, I'm just doing online talking. Speaking, through text, at a rapid rate.
As a writer...my writing's deliberately with a message, with intent, rather than accidentally having some. Everything I do is carefully, meticulously, finely crafted. The result is that whereas my every-day speech is sometimes artful, it's mostly me; my writing is art, and sometimes has elements of me in it, for better or worse (usually worse).
Hope that makes sense.
Anyway, that was a big of a long tangent. If I wasn't writing, but was in my room, what was I doing? I already told you I wasn't being responsible, so no drawing, either. Not even reading.
That Nemesis game is a bit addicting, but I removed the CD and am planning on putting it back in storage, so today will be the last one lost to it. To describe my experiences, I actually think that I'm a better player this time through than I was years ago. I managed to win the battle where you're defending against Carthage, which I had lost the first time through, even when getting Rome's reinforcements.
I also won the first map in the Carthage campaign. I think this is something I may have managed last time, but what I definitely did not manage was to capture the city, which this time I did. Unfortunately, I quit the campaign there while I was ahead, because I'm pretty sure I was about to lose, big time.
See, the thing is...while I fully, fully, fully anticipated the betrayal, what I did not expect was for the goal to be so ridiculously hard: sneak a general by their fort to the pass they came from? There's only one route there, which takes them directly past the city I'm now supposed to capture. And in a war between my city and theirs...my city, by my own doing partially, is royally screwed with low food, no gold, and whatnot, against a fully functional, fully upgraded, fortress.
Now, I played underhanded expecting the betrayal. See, when they captured buildings, I let the enemy recapture them, and then I immediately took them for myself. In this manner, I managed to control over half the map. Doesn't matter, though, because they refused to give me troops after a point, and had, to put things mildly, a freakin huge army.
Controlling the majority of buildings (including all three raiders on the map) doesn't do much good if he has literally hundreds of troops to my maybe-80. And this was after I had let him fight the enemy troops. Like, I was deliberately not engaging the enemy troops unless absolutely necessary, instead letting him get his armies massacred, because, again, I saw the betrayal coming.
It's just that seeing it coming, and being able to do anything about it, are two very different things.
The remaining three scenarios are all sieges. One siege, I put some serious time into. I was doing pretty good, too, but then suddenly, I was overwhelmed when roman troops appeared out of nowhere, and I went from 3 armies to none in seconds flat. They said to slow the attacks, capture the stone outposts; this, I did. The attacks were infrequent, and each didn't do anything. So I continued my efforts, until BAM. Suddenly, SURGE OF TROOPS, SIEGE EVERYWHERE, OH GOD WHYYYYYY.
A second siege was basically "how to survive a select number of Roman troops".
Now, I actually did fairly well in this one! The goal wasn't to capture all the roman positions. It was to eliminate all the roman armies. And I got it down to half of one army. Half, of one army. They started with like ten or so, against my three or so. So, with some smart defensive play, I was this close to winning...except, I didn't have enough troops to pull it off. I was out of gold, and low on food, and with zero population to spare. (The minimum settlement population is 10.)
The third, the Punic Wars from the Roman side, I started, but didn't bother to go far. I figured I might stand a chance, but I probably was screwed. So! Aside from the tutorial, I won one campaign I never could before, and got further on a second than before, attempting three others I'm fairly certain I never tried before (all three looked unfamiliar), which means I'm better than before.
This was not all today, thankfully, spread out across the last few days, butstill. Good distraction, time for work. (Well, Jeopardy is first, but I'll be back at it soon!)