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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Six Things I Learned (as a writer) At Dundracon-Part 4


Part 1 To Boldly Go
Part 2 Mutant Saga
Part 3 Arabian Nights

Part 4- Break all the rules...consistently. 

5- Bad food is bad.

Yes, I've begun to feel the pangs of age that I was apparently supposed to start feeling a decade ago.  Other than running around saying "I'm getting to old for this shit!' and complaining that I was two days from retirement every time a gunfight erupts, there are actually some practical applications.  Hotdogs and cheeseburgers might make dreadfully convenient fare when one has a forty minute turn around between two five hour games, but my body is not the trash compactor it was in my chimerical twenties.

Gotta remember to put in the extra ten minutes to go somewhere where there is some cellulose in the food.

6- Friendship might be magic, but willing suspension of disbelief is even better.

Sunday night, I got into a My Little Pony LARP.

At first I wasn't sure.  I mean playing the iPod and being able to identify Apple Bloom is a little different than five hours of pretending that friendship really is magic, but Ace of Geeks always puts on a great show. Whether it's their blog and podcast or their first rate LARPS they (insanely) manage to crank out every major con (with few reruns).  They always take quality to the next level, so I was willing to take a chance. And their Dundracon offering of a My Little Pony LARP turned out to be no exception.

I got to play Flim (...or was it Flam?), and one of the better role players I've played with was my counterpart Flam (...or was it Flim)--we shall call this awesome roleplayer Wry-In.  We shall call him this because he can insert his hilarious wry humor into pretty much anything.  Wry-In even brought matching bowler hats and a fake moustache so we could really rock the look. You can probably tell all you need to about the character even if you never seen the show.  But in case you need some help, watch this clip:



I know I have to stop here.  I just can't let this go without some explanation.   Cause as soon as you say "My Little Pony," people completely, utterly, wholly lose their motherfucking shit.  Suddenly it's either the best thing in the world, the obvious mark of a pedo, or some MRA bullshit appropriation of Brony that makes everyone hate them extra hard everyone jumps into assumption mode.

If you're too cool to watch this clip or to understand in your bones how fucking ultimately badass Twilight Sparkle is, and just how ass-kickingly hard she will Matrix style hoof you in your face if you mess with one of her peeps, that's okay with me.  Unless you're Chuck Norris or Ursula LeGuin, I'm not going to believe that you're too cool, but whatevahoodles.  It's actually a funny clip with a catchy tune.  But I am aware of the way My Little Pony makes people get....uh....weird.

Personally, I just get a kick out of how I'm not supposed to like My Little Pony, and everyone who takes time out of their day to tell me I'm acting like a 12 year old girl. They obviously can't appreciate my iPad game.

But back to Flim and Flam: these characters were AWESOME. (And not just because they can apparently get a whole town chanting "suck, suck suck.")  We sold so much crap to people--from used apple cores to "monster-be-gone" apple cider.  I think we even signed a 10 record deal with Octavia and DJ Pon.  In the end we actually ran a con on Discord.  Trying to sell him the liquid hate for the "reduced price of 200 bits!"  He turned us into chickens and just stole it, quaffing the whole bottle in one swallow.

Discord is kind of a asshole, tbh.

But Flim and Flam are con artists.  We didn't want to see Poniville hurt, we just wanted lots of money.  That's why what was in the bottle was actually liquid friendship.  Wry-In and I even did a big back to back smile as Discord felt his heart melt and ended up becoming friends with everypony again.

What the holy smoking cod semen does this have to do with writing, Chris?  Jesus tittyfucking CHRIST!

Shut up evil italics voice.  I'm getting to that.

Everyone was really cool about letting us con them.  I mean obviously the players knew we were conning them (our fricken names were Flim and Flam!), but they let themselves be taken advantage of as characters.  With only two exceptions they let us smooth talk them into buying lucky used apple cores and magical bow strings and stuff.  They were all very cool about enjoying the story rather than a "realistic" reaction to such an obvious...uh....flimflam. One of the exceptions was a younger player who I don't blame.  The other....I think she thought we were playing Game of Thronies or something because she was obviously channeling a little too much Cersei Lannister into her role of Sapphire Shoes.

The point is, you can get away with shit if you set the rules early.  Readers actually aren't going to get pissed off about a lack of realism.  They're going to get pissed off if you break your own rules.  That's why a gagillion Bronies love My Little Pony despite the naiveté of nearly every pony on the show, the reason we never once demanded to know what made an FTL drive work on Battlestar Galactica, the reason we cheerfully accept transporter technology on Star Trek even though a single transport would take as much energy as a sun going nova, but when you set up one set of rules and then break them, people call you out on your shit.

A writer should bear in mind that the internal consistency of their world is more important than some objective measure of realism.  Willing suspension of disbelief goes a long, long way.

4 comments:

  1. Bad food is bad no matter how old you are - for you, the animals, and the planet. :)- Not like you didn't already know my opinion.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not a vegan, but even I don't generally eat that badly. In my house it's all the grass fed, free range, bedtime story, hippie-est meat we can buy. It may contribute to how badly my body revolts when I'm in a place with no real good food options.

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  2. Your depiction of Twilight Sparkle is spot on. Also, you make me laugh.

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  3. I have seen and heard this advise many times but your relating it in more of a nerd way made it sink in for me. Thank you.

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