Friday, October 19, 2007

Writing's Not a Game...

My name is Justin Denton, and this is my second blog.

If you missed last month’s episode, I’ll fill you in. I’m 14 years old, one of the two youngest members of the writer’s group (Darah is the second, she’s also 14), and I enjoy writing, and playing video games. And sports.

Currently, my latest fascination is a little game called “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney”. It’s a game for the Nintendo DS and features a lawyer trying to find five defendants not guilty.

What I love most about the game is its storytelling. Being a lawyer simulation, you’ll know that there is no flying blood and the ‘Bzzzzt, tat-tat-tat-tat-tat’ of blazing machine guns. Both of which I prefer specifically from all of my games. No, Phoenix Wright is a simple puzzle-solving game that requires you to cross-examine weird witnesses to find the real killer. But the characters are so believable, even though they can be caught-up in otherworldly circumstances, and even then, they react the way you’d expect a real person to react, with hilarious dialogue.

But I’m not here to advertise; although I recommend the game if you have a DS. I wanted to take a leaf out of this wonderfully written book. The game is essentially a visual novel, and is full of dialogue and interior narration, which is what I’d like to emphasize.

The game doesn’t come at you strait with character descriptions like ‘She’s a girl. She wears this stuff, and this is how she acts and responds to most things.’ The game let’s you get to know the characters by experience. This makes me feel superior when I press or present something in court that makes the witness act strangely. This is essential for writing a good story, even a short one. Don’t interrupt the story with your irrelevant quibbling; let the reader think that quibbling in his/her head.

‘He twitched his fingers suspiciously.’

This ‘suspiciously’ isn’t needed. Just the very fact that this man’s fingers are twitching brings about suspicion in your reader. Outright telling them is more of an insult to their intelligence.

‘His fingers twitched.’

See? Well, you can’t really tell the difference with a line of text, but rest-assured, any story would read smoother with this style of writing.

I try to keep this advice as well when I’m writing something. What I’ve been working on recently is a short story (really more of a novella now…) about a defense attorney named Gordon Truth. You could probably tell by my last sentence that this story was inspired by Phoenix Wright, but don’t call it a fan-fiction. It has completely different characters with different personalities and an original story. Plus, the rather surreal court system from the game is not present here. I like realism in my realistic-fiction.

Anyway, the 3rd Phoenix Wright DS game is coming out very soon, and I want it SOOOOO BAD! I’ll be heading to Gamestop later in the month to pick it up. But keep in mind what I’ve said here. I literally think this could make-or-break a good story.

Just thought you ought to know, what with some of the modern literature I’ve been reading these days.

See you next month.

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