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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mash-ups

This term gets thrown around a lot. I most often hear it in reference to music (my wife and like to watch Glee), though lately I have seen it used in reference to fiction and games, particularly RPGs. In essence, a mash-up is a mixture of two seemingly disparate styles. When done skillfully, the end result is often nothing short of amazing.

In RPGs there’s some buzz over a new game called Sword Noir, a mash-up of Sword & Sorcery and hardboiled detectives, like Sam Spade. Fellow blogger Berin Kinsman has a good write-up of that one on his blog.

As a writer, mash-up are something that have come and gone in my own mind. I have often considered what would happen if you combined two different genres. Oddly enough, most of my ideas stem from placing a “Mack Bolan” character into another setting. I’ve toyed with him as a Western character and as a Sci-Fi character, and even as a Fantasy character. This last idea never saw any work beyond a bit of musing in my head…until yesterday.

I posted on my Facebook status that I was taking a break from S&S and reading an old Mack Bolan book. Scott Oden commented that I should combine the two, and suddenly something clicked. Like I said, I had considered the idea before, and had summarily tossed it. But now, hearing someone else state it (and a published author at that) made it sound more plausible. Then, before I could even start to imagine the details, Scott comes back with an off-the-cuff description of an Orc character.

An Orc! That was something I hadn’t thought of before. Immediately ideas began to form, based on the sketchy premise that Scott had posted. I determined early on that I would place him in Tharduin, the community-developed world that Scott is creating. Which then prompted more ideas.

So, basically I spent yesterday thinking about this character (in between work-related tasks), and began taking notes about him. Today I wrote a quick intro to a story. Not sure if I will use it, but it helped to get some exposition on the screen.

Great. One more writing project on my plate. And with me looking at starting school back up soon. I need to set some priorities, and some scheduling. I think I also need to get my hands on a usable laptop. I mean, I have a really old one. But it used Windows ME and got corrupted. So, I loaded up a copy of XP. It doesn’t like that. My current desktop has more memory in its RAM than the old one has in the Hard Drive. Of course, there is my wife’s old laptop. But it needs a new power cord, and because it’s a Dell, it needs a Dell cord. The generic replacement she bought doesn’t work too well. Still, if I can get that one going, I might be in business.

Because my house is a writing black hole. Too many distractions. I need some mini-retreats. A way to go out and write in comparative solitude. Then maybe I will make some progress on all of these things that my brain keeps telling me to write.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I think a lot of creative stuff comes out of this sort of thing. I like to think that The second pair of Talera books, Wings and Witch, combined Sword & Planet and Sword and Sorcery in a neat way. Course, those aren't that far apart anyway.