There's something so irresistable about drama. Not the personal kind, but in games. I think if Korean dramas weren't so long, I would enjoy them a bit more. You know the formula, but you can't help but want to see it play out one more time.
That's how I feel about Irresistable Mistakes, this Voltage game I've been playing. They had the entire main guy's route free to try out, so I did and I'm hooked...! It's cool that the heroine works at an ad agency, since I have friends who do that and so I have a point I can relate to. And she's quite competent at her job, as well. As much as I like Two Bedroom Story, the heroine having to get bailed out by her male co-workers all the time got old real fast. The whole plot of this game is so trashy romance novel—girl gets drunk and has one-night-stand with a co-worker—but I love it. The main guy is her boss as well as her hero. He's the reason she wanted to get into ad design. So it's an interesting power imbalance there.
One thing I thought this game handled well (in this character's season 2 route) was the emotionally abusive parent. In a lot of Japanese media, there's way too much emphasis on reconciliation. I get that it makes for a sweet story, but sometimes the parent is just a bad person. No matter how much you try to explain things to them, they just won't let you be. They will sabotage their own child rather than let their child do as they want. Unless they hamfist a reconciliation in season 3, I think it was handled well here. He doesn't hate his parents, he just...can't live under their thumb anymore. And it shows how far that influence reaches, even when you're in your 30's and are, by all accounts, a successful, independent person.
Of course, I didn't spend the entire day playing that game. I spent most of today coding, letting my brain take a break from all the writing it did yesterday.
Last night, though, in between my blog post and going to bed, I wrote another story for MerMay. I was blocked on what to write, as the prompt was "Urgent" and didn't immediately inspire any story ideas. So I decided to pick up that The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction book that I picked up last week. As much as I'd liked what I read, I had only read the introduction and hadn't managed to get into the exercises yet. I started with the very first exercise and it ended up being exactly what I needed.
The gist of it is that if you are faced with a blank page and don't know what to do, try an "elephant in the room." What is the "elephant" of your story? What characters do you want to have and how do they react to or interact with this "elephant"? Where is the "room"? Once you have all that hammered out, there's nothing left to do except write. It's important to make sure that the "elephant" is always the focus. Rather than get caught up with description and beautiful words, think about how every sentence about the setting and characters are tied to that "elephant".
So that's exactly what I did. I chose my "elephant": a kelp forest. I thought that would make for striking imagery. Then I created the character: a tide-dweller merman named Len. Finally, I thought up the "room": the coast of a remote island. The rest followed quickly. Len would be dealing with humans who were harvesting kelp and had decimated half of the forest due to their greed. Once I decided those three things, the words just flowed out of me. It really was that simple.
I'm finding it hard to imagine that all of the exercises in the book are that mindblowing, but I'm looking forward to going through more of them. The author actually has a lot of free exercises and prompts on his website if you want to check it out for yourself! I'll be getting back into writing tomorrow.
Another Voltage game, in which you are a journalist whose mother gets remarried to the father of one of your co-workers, then you end up accidentally living with them. ↩︎
In the universe I created for my MerMay stories, the tide-dwellers are the beautiful, more traditional-looking mermaids who live in more shallow waters. ↩︎