Painting With Shotguns #58

Painting With Shotguns

I Am Nothing If Not A Whore

And this whore has to seriously thank the mighty lot of you out there who have retweeted the ass out of my NaNoWriMo post (NaNoWhoNow?) — it’s come back around to me a couple times now, and if I track it right, we’re looking at several hundred retweets. Which is pretty nuts. You never really know when a post is going to go apeshit and catch fire (or be an apeshit ape who catches fire?), so it’s nice that once in a while my throwing knives are hitting dead center of the bullseye for some of you.

Also: “hello” to the many new followers who are keeping a vigilant eye on me via Twitter in case I do something dangerous to myself and others! Woooo!


Since clearly a great many of you are doing the NaNo thing (or is it the WriMo thing?), I’ll try to tweak my writing posts this month toward the joyous hell-climb that is “writing a goddamn novel.”

Alternately, you could quit NaNoWriMo and partake in any one of the following:

NaNoRemo: In which you spend the entire month writing fan-fic about Remo Williams.

NemoWrimo: In which you write a novel while submersed in a submarine. Be wary: you must also fight a giant squid. Hey, shit happens. And squids happen. And yes, squidshit happens.

NaNoReMo: National Novel Reading Month. I mean, hey, writing a novel is a pain in the dick. Quit that shit right now. Just read a book by somebody else. Much easier.  And so much more pleasant!

NanaMemaw: It’s national Hug Your Grandmother month! Awww! *vomits*

Feel free to come up with your own! It’s fun for the whole family.

Also, feel free to check out this fascinating Salon-dot-com article on NaNoWriMo: “Better Yet, Don’t Write That Novel.” Article critical of the process, says we should exalt readers instead of (in effect) producing a crap-ton of new writers writing books that nobody will read. (I think she makes some interesting points, but also succumbs to the false dichotomy that “writers” are somehow, mysteriously, not also readers.) Then you have an opposing viewpoint: “Ignore The Naysayers,” over at the LA Times.

Read ’em both. Curious to hear your thoughts, you crazy kids.

Finally — hey, I said I was a whore — check out two posts of mine that speak to the, erm, life and psychology of the writer brain: “Beware Of Writer” and “Want To Be A Freelancer? Just Punch Yourself In The Face, Instead.” Both also seem to be posts that people have enjoyed, so hey, I posit that you may enjoy them equally. Also. Too. Indeed. I could really drink more coffee. Coffee would help.

Fallout: New Vegas (And Other Gamery Goodness)

Due to a recent Target and Amazon sale, I went ahead and reached out with greasy mitt and procured a number of video games, clearly under the impression that I a) have time to play video games and b) enjoy playing games as much as I used to (weirdly, I don’t). Still, I cannot resist a two-fer, and both had two-for-one sales that could not be denied.

One of the games picked up? Fallout: New Vegas.

I heard that they had an update which fixed 200+ major bugs, so I decided it was okay to open ‘er up and start playing. Anybody else doing so? Enjoying it so far, but also finding it to be a less exciting experience than the previous iteration. Part of it, I recognize, is that this game has no way of replicating that sense of “newness” found in the first one, but even still, some things just don’t quite tickle my pink parts.

For one, the story isn’t as immediately compelling — Fallout 3 showed you life in the vault, then stole it from you. This just dumps you into a world and offers you incredibly low stakes. “Ehh. Some guys killed you, except they didn’t, and you don’t know them, and really, who gives a ding-dang-doo?” I feel no great impetus in this game to do anything, and so all I do is wander. Which is fun in its own way, but I don’t know that it’s particularly engaging, either.

Then, the graphics don’t always seem as tip-top (the guns look like toys, and sometimes I mysteriously seem to carry the rifle up above my shoulder? that must be a bug), and the music just isn’t as batshit awesome as the first game. While I do like Wayne Newton as Mister New Vegas, I still miss Three Dog, and I miss the hoppy poppy Big Band music. The game also seems particularly obsessed with playing “Big Iron” by Marty Robbins all the damn time. Every other song is this song. Yes, I know the notches on his pistol blah blah blah, I know big iron on his hip, I know. I get it. Play some different music. Where’s my Danny Kaye, goddamn you? I get that they’re going for that mournful cowboy vibe at times, but man, I really loved having a jazzy old pop tune absurdly carrying me through some Wasteland murder spree.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not enjoying the game. I absolutely am — but it just isn’t really grabbing me by the nipples and taking me for a twirl, yet. You know?

Also, for those who play Borderlands, I got my copy coming. Should be here by this weekend.

Whistle While You Work, Hitler Was A Jerk

I have some news, but I really can’t share it yet. So, thbbth on you. I just signed a big contract for a big something-or-other, and I picked up some more work for the illustrious Eddy “The Evil Doctor” Webb, and I’m also currently gestating the biggest project of my life. So, be assured that I’ll babble about these when I’m given the go-ahead by my penmonkey masters.

You will notice that our transmedia project, HiM, is going back to Sundance — this time as Pandemic 1.0, part of the Sundance New Frontier selection. I can’t tell you much about it except what’s already blurbed:

Pandemic 1.0 is a transmedia storytelling experience that spans film, mobile, online, real-world, social gaming and data visualization. Over the course of the festival the story will unfold enabling viewers / players to step into the shoes of our protagonists. The story experience starts when a mysterious sleep virus begins to affect the adults in a small rural town, the youth soon find themselves cut off from civilization and fighting for their lives. Will they survive? Can you survive?

So, that’s pretty exciting. And we have some other big stuff cooking around the experience (not limited to the film itself, which will see draft 8.7 dropping sometime tomorrow).

Links Instead Of Patties

The McGurk Effect is insane and will break your already broken brain.

Funny article about the Return of the McRib.

Gareth-Michael Skarka’s Tour de Bond is live, live, live. Like James Bond? Make with the clickyclicky.

Eddy Webb’s Tour de Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, baby) is also live, live, live. Tappity-clicky, too.

And that’s all she wrote, nerdlingers.


  • Borderlands. Yesssssss.

    I am enjoying your NaNo alternatives. I’m presently about 1000 words into my little worldbuilding project – way behind the NaNo-ers, but I’m pretty damn proud of this universe I’m cooking up. (Next up: World of Brightness. Unicorns. Rainbows. Glitter Vomit.)

    …Did I mention Borderlands is amazing?

  • My brain still hurts from The McGurk Effect. Especially how it still happens even when you know it’s going on.

    There’s no way to circumvent it! It’s it’s it’s…


  • Holy shit! When I become a Bond villain eccentric gazillionaire, every month is going to be NemoWrimo. And you people though Papa Hemingway was manly! His daiquiri sipping, Frenchie loving, bearded legacy will have nothing on my deep-sea adventures. I plan to take my awesome to Cthulhu himself!

    And … yup. You illustrated pretty much every quibble I had with New Vegas. I even did a post to such effect (you know, since you’re not the only whore in the room) last week – Even with the patch I still get random freezes and pop-ins by critters. But alas, I love the wasteland too much to call it quits. And the story becomes more satisfying toward the end as the characters involved might be the craziest in the Fallout series to date.

  • Thanks for all the links to read.

    Honestly – and since you asked – I think the post attacking NaNoWriMo is a bit small minded. It reads like someone who has made their opinion, and is expressing it without even opening themselves to the possibility that they are wrong. The second article does a good job dismantling parts of it.

    I’ve yet to try New Vegas, mostly as I wasn’t a big fan of 3, but a housemate of mine has been enjoying it for the most part. The glitches sound annoying. Instead of Fallout I tried Fable 3 which also has issues, to put it nicely, and some design choices that just left me scratching my head.

    • @Anthony —

      Fable 3 was one of the games I picked up in my gamepalooza. A mistake, then? Disliked the first Fable, loved the second.

      On the NaNo articles — I don’t think the article was small-minded exactly, though that’s perhaps semantics. I’d go with misguided and assumptive. The rebuttal article is good but also makes some clumsy points, I think. Both take sides on something that should, I suspect, come down to something very simple: if you want to try it, try it. Enjoy it if it works, don’t sweat it if it doesn’t. Neither really tackle the realities of writing or the industry, either, but whaddya gonna do?

      — c.

  • Congrats on the super secret projects. Hope to hear about the imminent excitement and terror shortly.

    Once I get my PC working again, which may be later rather than sooner, I’ll join you in Borderlands. If you can get the DLC Island of Dr. Zed. Zombies in Borderlands. Nice n’ creepy.

    I so need to get back into L4D2.

    • @Stephen:

      Apologies — I’ve got it coming to me for the 360. I’m once more moving away from “PC = Games” route, first because it’s so often buggy, and second because I think I want to keep this device as work-specific as possible.

      — c.

  • Been thinking about going that route, lately. Especially now that the motherboard I just bought seems to be on the fritz.

    But man, those controllers drive me nuts. Well, have fun. Borderlands is a blast.

  • Not a mistake if you liked Fable 2, but not as good as Fable 2 either. The design feels a bit lazy at times, like they got so caught up with what they wanted to do they reinvented the wheel here and there.

    There is also a bad experience right near the end that ruined a lot of the enjoyment for me and several others. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say. There is a count-down to a big event near the end game when you are King. This count down goes by arbitrary amounts (usually 20-30 increments) until, suddenly and without warning, you lose the last 1/3 (roughly 120 units) and are in the end game. Being forewarned of this, perhaps you will enjoy the endgame more. Just be aware, when the counter is at 120 you are making all your final decisions to be ready for the endgame.

    The game is also ridiculously short, but has some nice bits of flair that I really do enjoy. As well as some things that while overly simple, are awesome to see in a game (like the fact you get to be king, and are then faced with tough decisions)

  • Glad to see that you’re also on the Tour De Bond. Following the Tour has re-ignited my interest in finishing my long-abandoned stroll through the Fleming novels. Thanks to the Tour, I’ve bumped a few Bond novels to the (near) top of my reading queue.

  • I can’t believe I’m de-lurking to comment on Nano of all things (awesome, very helpful posts by the way. Thank you Chuck!). The first time I read Miller’s article, wasn’t terribly offended because I was sure the “these writers don’t read” people are out there.

    Then today I loaded my goodreads page to count the books I can verify reading since Christmas of last year. I’m at 53, and I feel pretty confident in saying that I DO read. So I take offense to the blanket statement that the participants don’t read and are just contributing more unread slush to the nether. Every writer in the world was first a reader. I am only writing because of storytellers who inspired me, and I’m sure lots of other writers can say the same.

    And… “Better yet, DON’T knit that scarf” is full of win.

  • Fallout: New Vegas doesn’t start off with as big of a bang, but overall, I find the companions, factions and characters that you meet much more compelling then those in Fallout 3.

    Also Matthew Perry plays Benny the dude who shot you, Zachary Levi as Arcade, Felicia Day as Veronica, Danny Trejo as Raul the Ghoul. Some great voice voice actors in this and really well done companion characters.

  • I thought NemoWriMo was a month spent writing about a talking orange fish. There’s also NanooWriMo, which is a month of writing Mork & Mindy fanfic.

    I like New Vegas. I find being less driven by a central plot to be both a strength and a weakness. I got caught up in lots of little side plots without feeling compelled to propel myself quickly to the conclusion of the main plot. I found some minor characters that were extremely well-done and had some excellent story arcs. The game plays more like a short story anthology with a central character who wanders through the various plots while his own plot develops tangentially until the final novella in the book, in which he is the central protagonist. One of my favorite “short stories” in the game was that of the Bright Ones and their quest.

    I purchased Borderlands when it first came out. All of my XBOX Live friends were excited about it and told me they looked forward to playing it with me regularly. Yet, I never got to play it co-op a single time. I never saw any of my Live friends playing it at any point that I was online, so I traded it again. I’ve been thinking about picking it up again and just gutting through it alone.

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