Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I am obsessed with right now

I haven't done one of these in a while and I promised myself I would try to blog more regularly, so here I go!

1) Fallout 4

I am pretty much posting about this in every non-professional thing I have written in since the game came out. This game is so addictive. Fallout 3 was great, but this really put everything over the edge of notabletofunctionintherealworldneedtoplaymore for me. I have spent far too many hours of my life building up my settlements, because you can build stuff people! Also, I have an all girl gang that comprises of me, Piper, and Dogmeat. We all wear cool red bandanas and we are called Raiders #1. The best raiders in the Commonwealth!

2) Nico Vega

So, I just found this band through Spotify and I think they are great. Anyone who does a cover of a Cher classic pretty much has my attention and their cover is damn awesome. Since I know nothing about music I needed to Google this, but I found out they are an 'American alternative rock band' (thanks Wikipedia!) So, if you like that type of music give them a looksee!

3) The Espresso Martini

I've been trying to get classy and make cocktails. Why? Well, really I am broke from my kickstarter campaign and have no money to go out :P. My solution to this is obviously to frequently invite friends over and instead drink all the half bottles of random liquor I have in my house. A good friend of mine posted about this cocktail from his vacation in lovely, sunny Australia so I knew it had to be good. My permutation took a slightly different track than the cool absolute vodka link in the header. But it is tasty! If you want to make mine:

Liz's Kitchen Cupboard Espresso Martini
2 parts vodka
1 part amaretto 
1 part cold instant 'espresso'**  
1/2 part simple syrup
**instant coffee made with an extra spoonful of granules - super classy!

Fill a shaker with a few ice cubes, add in your liquids, cap on, shake, pour and enjoy!

4) Victoria Junior!!!

I backed this Kickstarter last year by +manny Trembley for a comic about a little girl who finds parents who are monsters. Her name is Victoria Junior and she is bold, creative, and epic! I got my reward for this a few months back and the book is so nice. I really love Manny's drawing style and Victoria is a really lovely character. She is so courageous and definitely has the spirit of the kind of person I looked up (and dreamed of being) to when I was younger. Also, it was super awesome because in the last Kickstarter we unlocked a colouring book and I can't wait to use it... Though I am also slightly terrified, because I don't want to ruin in.

If you think Victoria is awesome and you're sad you missed the Kickstarter - you don't have to be. Manny has made a new campaign for a second installment of the series and you can order the first book as well! Check it out here: Victoria Jr. presents Little Prometheus.

5) Strahd von Zarovich

Wow! Much vampire! So cape! 

Ravenloft will be the next D&D campaign setting! This is exciting news people. Ravenloft! And in honour of this, I am adding Strahd von Zarovich to my list of things I am obsessed with right now. I knew about Ravenloft for a long time, but I never played in the setting till a few years ago when my best friend decided to run a campaign there. It had all the epicness of Ravenloft I expected and one ass-hole, evil, chillingly smooth, creepy, vampire, butthead. Seriously -_-.

If you know me, you'll know that I love vampires and am pretty obsessed with them. Why? I dunno I blame the local library with laxed policies on what they're letting kids check out, hormones, and Anne Rice. So I was super excited when I heard that a vampire might be our main antagonist for the game. And, despite the names I called him up there (which are all totally apt) Strahd did not disappoint. He was everything I imagined an evil vampire lord to be and was dripping with as much Dracula coolness that someone could pack into one character.

What was refreshing for me about the character was that he was, in fact, a throw back to the old-school version of vampires. He wasn't a Lestat, Louis, Angel, Spike, Damon, Klaus, Johnathan, David, or Adam (thought shout out to all you brooding hotties). He was a badass and he was Dracula. He had just enough broody-nes to give me the fix I needed, while being utterly terrifying! And this is why Stradh deserves some love, some obsession, and to die at my hands when I play the next campaign setting. A girl can dream, right?


Friday, January 15, 2016

Reviving creativity & Chill

Hello world! You may wonder where I have been for so long, well rest assured that for the month I have been in the Wasteland I have mainly been working super hard to finish everything for WITCH: Fated Souls. However, I have also been writing for some companies other than mine.

At the moment I have a few projects going and all of them are vastly different. They allow me to be amazingly creative, but they also pose a problem. When someone tells you - make me anything in this theme (horror, fantasy, etc.) it can sometimes be difficult to center your thoughts on what you want to do. I thrive with these types of assignments. An excuse to write whatever crazy thing I dream up? Yes, please.

But  - I was dreamed out for 2015. If I am honest, the closer it got to Christmas the more I wanted to eat junkfood all day and play Fallout 4 (it is a serious addiction, I am considering going to meetings). When you have deadlines this sucks so bad. However, I have a tried a true method for getting out of my writing ruts and I wanted to share it with you!


What is a moodboard? A board where you stick, glue, and tape a bunch of things that inspire you.

Why do a moodboard? It gets your mind thinking differently. You might be a super creative writer, but sometimes when we write we think too much about our concept and the words that surround it. Creating a moodboard makes you think about your project in a different way.

But Liz, what the hell does this look like? Well, let me show you!

This is the moodboard I created for an scenario I am writing for Chill by Growling Door Games. I was a stretch goal writer for their Kickstarter SAVE - The Eternal Society. Chill is a horror game where you play an Envoy - an investigator of the Unknown (think: Veronica Mars vs. the supernatural where shit just got super serious). It was very cool to be chosen to write a stretch goal for Growling Door, because the assignment was unique to anything else I was doing.

Backers of the Kickstarter could share creepy/cool photos on social media and as a writer I got to choose one I was inspired by to base my scenario on. When looking through the photos, I instantly knew the one I was going to pick:
Image from @thaowarra

My adventure is called the Temple of the Skin Man. When I started writing all I had was a really epic picture and a good title. That's it. For a very long time. Ego aside - my title was really cool and the picture was perfect, so what was the problem? Well, I had absolutely zero ideas of where to go from there. And spending hours in front of my monitor only resulted in backing a random Kickstarter, buying a pair of shoes, and re-reading the same posts on social media convincing myself that +1/liking something made me productive.

If this is the point you have gotten to - get off the computer! Wait, get off the computer after you finish reading this post :).

Once I was free from the screen I got a piece of cardboard from the recycling bin and started gluing things on the board that reminded me of - Chill, the picture I was using, and things I thought were pretty.

In summary, the three elements you should put on your writing moodboard:

Something that reminds you of the the book/game you are writing for.
Chill for me is dark, horror, dirt, grime, life, and terror. I smudged the board black with charcoal and added a few roots from the back yard. 

Something specific to what you are writing.
I really wanted to use cards in my scenario. Why? Cards are cool. I also drew out an oubliette for my adventure (the thing in the pic that looks like a turnip). I have been kind of obsessed with oubliettes as dungeons since my friend opened a club named after them and now I had an excuse to use one in an adventure.

Something you think is cool.
This is possibly the most important part of a mood board. The idea behind this is to get you creative and open up your imagination. Just stick some cool shit to the board that fits your theme. Later on when you are stuck with writing, look at the board, pick something out, and use it. Even if it doesn't work and you take it out in the end - at least you wrote something!

Have you made a moodboard for a project you are doing? Do you have any other advice for getting started on a project? Leave a comment!