Happy 12:34:56 7/8/09 Day!
Interesting article by Neil Gaiman about writing about characters. Its one of those things that make perfect sense once you read it.
When I was a young writer I would come up with stories, and then put characters into them. And the character would often feel like, in Thurber’s words, “a mere device”.
I think the breakthrough for me came when I started writing comics — because I believed in them. Because sometimes I would be using characters I hadn’t created, but simply cared about. And over the next few years I learned that if you cared enough about a character, what happened to them was interesting.
I’m not sure that’s much of an aphorism, but it’s important to care about them, about who they are and what they do. And (for me) for them to be people I would want to spend time with — I don’t really care who’s side they are on, and they can be monstrous on the outside or, worse, on the inside, but you have to want to spend time with them. If you met one of these characters socially would you talk to them, or make an excuse and flee?
(As a sidenote, I think the years I spent as a journalist doing interviews for magazines really helped as well. I learned a lot about speech patterns, and ways of describing people, and letting their words describe them. But more importantly, I learned that if you are actually interested, and not faking it, people will tell you anything, and you will take pleasure in their company. So talk to people, especially people you would normally avoid talking to. Find out their stories. Figure out how you would put them into stories, if you would, or just describe them with a few words.)
If you haven’t heard this song yet you need to. I’ll wait a minute while you listen. Ignore the trippy music video.
Pretty awesome, no? It sends shivers down my back at certain points. The song is called Austere and the band is “The Joy Formidable” . Anywho, Austere, and most of their original album, is available for download at the link provided up above. So quit reading and get with the clickin!
I’ve been using GoTime’s iPhone App “Happy Hours” for the last month and a half or so and so far I’m liking it. Basically Happy Hours uses the GPS location of your iPhone to tell you where the nearest happy hours at the nearest restaurants & bars are happening. So how well does it work?
So far pretty good. I’ve been able to find good places to eat & drink around downtown Seattle & Bellevue so far. I never would have thought about checking out the Lucky Strike in Bellevue, but Gotime said they had half-price pizza & beer for happy hour so I had to check it out. Let me tell you it is really good pizza, and so far all their bartenders have known how to pour a mean pint of Guiness.
On the negative, sometimes their info on the exact happy hour specials can be lacking occasionally. But this can only improve.
(Note: So far GoTime is only deployed in the Seattle and Portland,OR regions, so if you aren’t in either areas it’ll probably be of limited value to you in the near future. Though I have heard that they are getting ready to expand into more regions on the west coast)
So besides having a pretty awesome iPhone app, GoTime is also holding a contest to win free tickets to the Seattle International Beerfestival. Who doesn’t like free beer? Full details can be found on their blog here. Basically entry requirements are that you have to pimp them on twitter and your blog (Cough, Sellout, Cough). But like I said uptop, their iPhone app has helped me find some good places to eat a couple times which gives them some brownie points in my book.