Thursday, 10 June 2010

So I'm Way Too Excited About This...

...whole Legend of Zelda thing. I've already started, but I figure, heck this could take awhile. How about this, authors? Every Wednesday, I'll write a Legend of Zelda awesomeness post? And try to keep it kindashort? Maybe we could learn some awesome writing stuff together? (I know it's not wednesday, my first post is today. SOOOO ha. :D)

~lychi on deviantART

Trust me, even if you don't play nintendo, there are some really helpful writing tactics hidden in the game. And it makes things so much easier to understand - like pictures! Pictures help, right?

So let's take our first peek, shall we?
(Yes, this is a writing post, so don't go away yet! Seriously, it's got character stratagies and EVERYTHING!)

For those of you outside of the gaming world, this is the series:
"The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, puzzle solving, and role-playing. The series centers on Link...Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and... Hyrule from Ganondorf,...who is the primary antagonist of the series. The story commonly involves a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three golden triangles of omnipotence. The protagonist in each game is usually not the same incarnation of Link, but a few exceptions do exist." - Wikipedia (gotta love it)

The series is about 24 years old, and each game can stand alone. Often Link is the 'reborn' hero of time, sometimes a reincarnation of a Link in a previous game.
ANYWHO, onto the writing part.

Here's what Twilight Princess has going for it at the very beginning: an established presence.
How can first time novels have an established presence? They can't. But they can have the illusion of one.

Let's look at how they do it, and how we can mimic it. Here's Link, the dashing protagonist:


Everyone knows him. At least, everyone who plays the games. This makes nintendo's job very easy and very hard: easy, because characterization is covered, hard, because it's a new game and, therefore, a new Link. The basics characteristics of Link in every game are: brave, quiet, persistant, unable to refuse to help someone in need, selfless. Likes fairies. (hehe) But sometimes his character changes a bit.

What we need to do is give the reader something to hold onto from the get-go. There needs to be at least some image in their mind of who this MC is. Allusion can help so much here. I'm not saying you should talk about your MC like, "He was a Link-ish sort of character, but with a ganondorf grin." (although, if I read that in a novel, I'd buy eighty copies of the book postehaste. Because it's awesome) But if you can pull a familiar image into the reader's mind, you've got it made.
What kind of car do they drive?
Do they have a Hera temper or an Athena temper?
What object can they never leave the house without? Ruby lipgloss? Deoderant? Lucky charms? Pistol? Cupcakes? Notebook?

Here's where props come in handy. Look at that picture of Link above. (Then come back, I know he's hard to look away from. *dreamy sigh*)

What does it tell you about him?

Pose: Dynamic, active. What is your MC doing the first time the reader sees him? If he's tackling a task with energy, even if it's just paperwork, that tells us loads about his personality. If she's distracted and ignoring the paperwork with gusto, that also tells us about her. If he's half-heartedly focusing on the paper, he may be an adventurous MC, but we certainly can't tell. He seems... mild. Mediocre. Average. If you do that in your stories, make it intentional.

First Glance: We know immediately that Link is left handed - either that, or he gets kicks out of pretending to be like Wesley from The Princess Bride. We can also tell that he has a dapper fashion sense - but we may be wrong. By first glance, we can mostly tell what he's not. When was the last time you focused on how your character wasn't coming across? It can be an interesting writing exercise to try and make a character seem not stupid as opposed to smart, or not careful, as opposed to reckless, or not drunk as opposed to never touches alcohol. It's not as intense, but, like I said, it's an interesting exercise.

Second Glance: We see the ornate sheath. That sword is not merely nifty, it's a king's weapon. Is this character a king? We see what looks like a chainmale shirt underneath the edge of the tunic. We see the sharp, almost wild eyes, strange light blue. We see sharpened ears; whoever this fellow is, he's not human (Hyrulian). We see the playful curve of his lip. He knows what he's doing.
The important thing here is seperating these things from the first glance. They are not the same level of character traits. They're different, maybe deeper, maybe more subtle. Just as much a part of him, but a different part of him.

Style: This guy's got the look. Tunic and matching hat, awesome freaking sword, intricate shield, nifty boots. But does he particularly look like the type of fellow who fusses in front of a mirror? No. So why is he so carefully dressed? Did he dress himself, or were those clothes/weapons given to him? Why is your character dressed how they are? Do they care if they look nice? Does someone close to them care how they dress?

Exercise: Check the first scene with your MC in it, look at it like a tableaux or picture, not a moving scene: what's your MC's pose? What do you see at first glance? Second? What's the style?

Gosh, I could go on forever. Don't worry, I'll stop now! But I'll put up a Legend of Zelda fantrailers to get you all excited, mmk? Yuppers! :) Ignore the first 10 seconds or so.


(P.S. that's the difference between girl gamers and guy gamers. Guy gamers will drool over Laura Croft, girl gamers will dedicate their lives to Link. Then go and kick guy gamer butt. =P)

(P.P.S. Thanks guys for your comments on last nights post. :D I was in a really weird mood yesterday - you ever those really weird ones? And now I'm hoping I didn't like scare you all. :P Actually, I've had a weird week. Hence the Legend of Zelda posts?)


Anonymous said...

Reading this post makes me happy. My brother is also a Zelda fan. I don't play games much, but I still have an undying love for Final Fantasy IX. :)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I love Final Fantasy too. :) But Zelda will always have my heart.

Janet Johnson said...

I remember when Zelda came out. It sounded so cool, but I was confused because I didn't know the story. Thanks for sharing it! And awesome comparisons.

Tahereh said...

wow what an awesome post. i love how you brought it all together! hehe

have a fab weekend, love!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Hmmmm. I was a fun of Zelda back in the day. Even though I sucked at it. I'l be interested to see where you take this line of thought.

have a great weekend!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I remember Zelda from my teen years. A long time ago. I LOVED it then, and I'm sure I'll love it now.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I've laways wanted to play Zelda. I'm a huge fan of games like Final Fantasy, so I enjoy getting lost in a good RPG.
Great post.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Never played Zelda before, but I do love Mario Brothers. LOL. I love the way you connected your beloved Zelda game into a writing exercise. Very smart. :)

Kathryn said...

Go Zelda Go!! My hubby's a big gamer, so this blog is right up his alley! I was more of a Duck Hunt fan (although I could never get that damn dog...), but I can hold my own when it comes to Uncharted or LBP! :D

Kathryn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saumya said...

I just came across your blog and love this post!! It is so helpful, especially the questions about the first scene with the MC! It definitely made me reevaluate my first page.

Missed Periods said...

Geez- the Zelda graphics have really come a long way since my brother used to play it twenty years ago.

You made some good points. I will try the exercise you recommended.