Friday, February 27, 2015

Give Your Characters Personality

Some of the best advice I ever read on writing was in the book, "Plot versus Character," by Jeff Gerke. It runs through a gambit of information and ideas on keeping your characters and plots interesting, while not being too centered on one or the other.

In the chapter entitled, "Core Personalities," Gerke discusses the sixteen personality types as defined by the Myers-Briggs (though I often call it Briggs & Stratton) Type Indicator. Basically, there are four categories, each with two answers. Are you more of an extravert (E), or and introvert (I)? Sensing (S) or intuition (N)? Thinking (T) or feeling (F)? Judgement (J), or Perception (P)?

Answering these queries, you come up with 16 combinations of letters, each combination representing a different personality type. In his book, Gerke suggests picking up the Myers-Briggs study from you're local book store, but I've found a better solution.

My new favorite writing tool is officially www.16personalities.com. The website provides detailed information on each of the personality types. What are their strengths and weaknesses, how do they handle relationships, etc. It's a brilliant way to come up with a template for your desired character.

If you've ever read a book, or watched a show/movie, and thought, "that character doesn't seem like the type to do that," it may be because the personality type you were picking up didn't match with that action. Using these personalities does two things for you: One, it gives you a formula for how your character would respond to certain stimulus. You can then ensure the character stays true throughout. Second, it helps you identify holes in plot points. If your characters are making decisions they shouldn't, then your plot isn't strong enough to bring them to the conclusion you need. You can now rewrite with so much more ease.

If you really want to get deep, take the personality test on the website, but do it as your character. You'll find you understand their motives so much better, and then they become their own unique individual.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition: 5 and 5

I have finally finished a play through of Dragon Age Inquisition, and I'm ready to talk about it. I considered working up a rating system, but I don't think that style is for me. Instead, I want to share my overall thoughts about the game with a format I like to call, "5 and 5." I will list five things I loved about the game and then five things I did not love about the game.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sin, Righteousness, Judgement: A Sermon

I've been working to get this sermon onto my YouTube channel, and finally have it accomplished. The title was, "Sin, Righteousness, Judgement," and I preached it on January 25th at Living Waters Church in St Peters, Missouri.

Taken out of John 16:7-11, I touch on Jesus' words about the Holy Spirit being sent to convict the world of Sin, Righteousness, and Judgement. I talk about what each of these means, how it relates to salvation, and what it means to the church in how they present themselves regarding these topics.

The video is below, and is strictly audio over a black background, with scripture references appearing when they are spoken for reference. It is one of my longer messages, ranging around fifty minutes. It's also a small church, and some of the members took opportunity to voice agreements and ask questions, but you cannot hear them in the recording. Regardless, I believe the message the Holy Spirit wanted me to deliver is in tact.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February Updates

Ten days into February and what do I have to show for it?

For starters, I've begun preaching again. First time in two years on January 25th. It was a message on John 16:7 about sin, righteousness, and judgement, and how Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict us in those areas.
In the past I've put the recordings on SoundCloud, but that costs  money if I want to continue to add audio files, so I'm trying something different. I have a YouTube channel that sees little use, so I am editing the audio to have some overlays of scriptures used during the sermon, and then planning to post it there. I'll have a direct link when it's done. I'm thinking I'll throw up some older ones that way too, once I finish this one.
My next sermon will be March 1st, so I'm prepping for that now.

Writing is coming slowly. I had a plan, and tried to keep it, but I haven't. But, I have been writing, so I'm not too down on myself. I'm thinking I am going to go back to 2013's NaNoWriMo and try to finish it. It has a good plot that I'm reminded of often, so I want it to see the light of day. I'd also like to flesh out some short stories. Have to stop watching anime on my lunch breaks and get to it.

I'm close to beating Dragon Age Inquisition, but haven't dedicated much time to that. I've spent more time keeping up with my Madden league and watching Haven on Netflix with my wife. I'm looking forward to that, and should have a review when I'm done.

Later this week I'm going to a special showing of some indie movies that will benefit Leukemia research, so if you're in St Louis and want to come out, let me know. It's Thursday night, February 12th.

Time for work, so I need to wrap this up. My final project I'm considering is branching out into Vine and dropping, "6 second wisdom." The idea would be to paraphrase a proverb or something in that six second format and post it. May be fun, may be a waste of time. Don't know yet.

And that's everything folks. Later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Madden Etiquette

I have been playing Madden football video games since Madden 96 on the Sega Genesis. Back then, you had to go to someone's house if you wanted to play a game against someone. Today, you can simply fire up the Playstation, request an online match, and get underway.

Online play has never been a selling point for me, personally. I want to play franchise mode, and go through a season, not have a superiority contest based on one matchup. When Madden 13 launched, I gathered some friends and put together a league. This gave me the opportunity to play through continuos seasons, and test myself against others with regularity.
With Madden 25, we upgraded to PS4 systems, and have just completed our first season play through on Madden 15. We have had as few as five user teams, and as many as fourteen during the three years of our league's existence, finishing six total seasons all together.

Through the course of being the commissioner of the league, I have found a number of etiquette preferences that I believe all players should consider. Without much else to do today, I decided to list them out for your reading enjoyment, and, hopefully, your edification as a Madden player.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wise in your own eyes

 Proverbs 26:12
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Isaiah 5:21
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.
Proverbs 12:15
The way of fools seems right to them,
    but the wise listen to advice.

In the age of social media, these versus come to my mind a lot. Everyone wants to weigh in on the next trend, news headline, etc. Whenever I want to write a serious blog post (such as this one) I can't help but think, "Why should anyone care what I have to say? Am I just trying to show people I'm smart and deserve a thumbs up on the Facebook?"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Writing Strategy

I don't want to call it a resolution, but January is a great time to start a new writing campaign. It's not just that I want to write more in 2015 (though I do), it's that I want to complete the novel.

Previously I have looked to NaNoWriMo to do the bulk, but this has left me with half finished novels despite winning at the event. After this past November was a flop, I decided I needed to try and step it up. This is what I came up with.

If I were to write 5k words a week, I would end up writing 260k words in one year. That's a lot. But I don't need 260k, and I'd like to have the first draft done sooner. So I got to thinking, if I wrote 5k a week for three weeks a month, I would reach 90k in six months. With the fourth week of each month, I would edit the previous three weeks work, making sure the story still fits together, as well as planning for the next month of writing. If I want to break 100k, I could add additional words on specific months as stretch goals.

If I kept to this strategy, I could finish a first draft in six months.

So that's the strategy. Not a resolution. Best of luck to you this year with your own strategies.