Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Video Games

I never thought video games would have a place in my creative writing class, until I saw the unit on the course outline. I was confused and wondered what could we possibly learn about video games in a writing course. Now you must first know that when I think of video games my first thought is Zombies and gun fights… after I stopped to think about it I realized that the realm of video games expands way past shooting monsters and Super Mario, and that even shoot ‘em up games take a lot of creative writing to keep the gamer engaged.
In our last double class we got to play some video games, that is where I found out it is a good thing I decided against majoring in Psychology because I can’t even keep a virtual marriage from falling apart. This particular video game was based on text. The couple were fighting and you played by talking to them. Everything they did depended on their interpretation of what you said to them. I had never heard of such a video game. We also played another text based video game based on Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That one I kept losing as well… turns out I’m not very good at video games. It was interesting because you told the game what you wanted to do with words and the game usually replied with a snarky comment and prompted you to try something different. It was oddly addictive.
Then there are the more popular games like Mario and those zombie-shooting type games that I never really thought of as creative writing worthy… until I was forced to think about it. I then realized that those games are all one giant story, kind of like the choose your own adventure stories that everyone I knew used to read back in the fourth grade, only now instead of flipping pages in a book you are choosing commands with a controller.
Writing one of these types of stories would take forever because not only do you need to come up with an interesting story, you need to come up with all the potential angles that the gamer could take. So really you are writing many stories all piled into one with a bunch of graphics to keep people entertained for hours, weeks or years depending on how good they are at the game.
Video games are one of the most creative things and I have learned that they should be in every creative writing course, because when you get right down to it, they are just one really complicated story.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We Were In Love - Part 2

Here is the end of my short screenplay! Enjoy!


STACEY’s phone beeps waking STACEY up. She fumbles for her phone, knocking over the pile of books that sit by her bed.

Son of a bitch! This better be important!

STACEY finally grabs hold of the phone, opens it and up pops an incoming text.

(reading the text)
From Steven. Hey Stace. What you doing?

I actually stopped breathing when his name appeared on the phone. What do I do? Do I ignore it? Do I answer? I thought he never wanted to talk to me again... What is this?

STACEY starts texting

I knew I shouldn’t text back... but I couldn’t stop myself.

Text beeps again. Text pops up on the screen. From Steven. I was gonna say you should come over but if you’re already sleeping...

I took back a little control by not responding, but I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. Did I miss my chance? Would I ever hear from him again?


Thanks for the ride Stace.

STACEY’s phone buzzes in the cup holder of the car. 1 new text message pops up on the phone. Both girls look towards the phone.

Everything alright Stace? You look like you’re having a heart attack.

What? Oh yeah I’m fine Jess. It’s just... my sister.

It wasn’t my sister. But I couldn’t tell her it was Steven, I barely believed it myself. All I knew was I had to see him... it wasn’t a want... it was a need. I felt like a drug addict, and Steven was my drug.


Only the glow from the inside light lit STACEY’s path towards the front door. She pauses for a moment before knocking, the only sounds she can hear are her heart pounding and the muffled sound of Star Wars coming from inside the house. Finally after standing there for a moment STACEY gains the courage to knock on the door.

Hey there stranger.


STEVEN holds the door open for STACEY to walk through. A few awkward moments of silence occur.

So... how have you been?

I’m doing good, how ‘bout you babe?

I’m a little shocked honestly.

STEVEN moves closer to STACEY and she has to catch her breath. STEVEN puts his arm around her and pulls her close. Their hands intertwine as their body’s press up against each other. STEVEN moves in and kisses STACEY. STACEY pulls back at first but then starts kissing him again passionately. STEVEN pulls away but keeps hold of her hand.

I’ll show you the way.

STACEY follows STEVEN upstairs.

Following Steven up those stairs was against my better judgement. I knew I shouldn’t. I knew what I was getting myself into and I knew it wouldn’t end well. But I knew I couldn’t stop when every part of me wanted him. I couldn’t help it. I was still in love with him.


STEVEN and STACEY are cuddled up in STEVEN’s bed. STACEY’S head resting on STEVEN’S chest and he has his arm around her shoulder.

You know I never stopped loving you. I didn’t want to hurt you. I miss you so much Stace.
STACEY gets up and starts walking towards the door. STEVEN follows her.

Stace... Stacey wait!

For what Steve?

For me. I meant it, I meant everything I said. I still love you Stacey. Do you still love me?

I wish I didn’t.
but I can’t help it. Of course I love you, but that isn’t what matters.

STACEY walks out the front door.


STACEY slams the door shut and runs down the sidewalk, slowing down as she approaches her car. She turns around to face Steven’s house and starts walking back. STACEY reaches the front door which was left partially open and pauses when she hears STEVEN’S muffled voice.

Hey baby. What you doing?.... Oh yeah... well why don’t you come over? I’ll make you feel all better. Just like I did last night sexy..... I’ll see you soon babe. I can’t wait to have you all to myself again.

STACEY walks back to her car as her phone buzzes.
1 New text. It was great to see you beautiful. Love you.


STACEY is driving through the Winnipeg streets. The only lights are the headlights from the car and the red stoplight in front of her. It is raining outside, which is matched by the tears running down her face. The stoplight is reflecting in her eyes. Inside the car is soft country music playing.
We were in love. At least we were once upon a time, but our time was over now and that was something I was just going to have to get used to. We would never walk down the street holding hands and making plans about our future, we would never argue over which movie to rent and then curl up on the couch, safe in each other’s arms watching it. I would never wake up next to him and look at his sleeping face and be so happy and thankful that he was mine. He wasn’t mine anymore. And I was ok with that. He loved me, that I was sure of... But he loved the chase more. We were in love... but that was a lifetime ago. For the first time I could think about him and I wasn’t sad about what I lost, I was thankful for what had happened.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Were in Love - Part 1

For our Creative Writing class we had to write a screenplay. I totally fell in love with my characters so I thought I'd share the screenplay with all of you. I think it is something everyone can relate to in one form or another. So here is the first part. Enjoy! Just for reference V.O. stands for voice over.



STACEY, 21, is driving through the Winnipeg streets. The only lights are the headlights from the car and the red stoplight in front of her. It is raining outside, which is matched by the tears running down her face. The stoplight is reflecting in her eyes. Inside the car is soft country music playing.

We were in love. The perfect romance novel, happily ever after kind of love. He was my prince, we fit.
We just fit. We never made any sense, that I knew. He was from the small town and I was from the big city. We had come from two different worlds, but somehow we fit. We were in love. Our relationship was a passionate roller coaster, great days followed by big fights, followed by even bigger make-ups. The sex was great... no it was better than great.
And it proved we were in love.
(long pause followed by a sigh)
We were in love....
until her.

Music gets louder as the light turns green and the car drives away.


STACEY is lying in bed. Her digital clock radio casts a little bit of light in the room with the numbers 3:00 glowing red. Her cell phone is charging on her bedside table. The Phone rings. STACEY’S hand reaches out from under the covers, grabs the phone and without opening her eyes answers it.


Hey Babe.

(still sleepy)
Hey you! How are you doing? Did you win your hockey game? Wait... What are you doing up so late?

I’m fantastic Stace.... I have something I need to tell you.
STACEY sits up in bed and leans against the wall looking worried.

Is everything ok? You alright?

I’m fine. Everything is great... well for me anyway.

Ok... well then... what’s up baby?

I met someone else.
(long pause)
And she’s awesome. She’s beautiful and sexy and she wants me to be with my friends and play hockey. She’s just amazing. She’s the one I want. Her, not you.

There is a long pause where nobody says anything.

I.... umm.... what?

My phone’s about to die, and when it does I never want to hear from you again. Goodbye Stacey.
STACEY stares at the phone in shock, a single tear falls down her face.


STEVEN, 21 and VICKY, 19 are cuddling on the couch while STEVEN puts his cell phone on the glass table. The clock above their heads reads 3:10.

How’d she take it sweetie?

Oh like you really care babe.

I might..

STEVEN grabs VICKY and pulls her close. VICKY gasps as she is caught by surprise and they kiss passionately. She grabs his hands and moves them onto her body.

I’ll show you the way.

VICKY moves STEVEN’S hands to her shirt and helps him unbutton it. They move in for another passionate kiss.


STACEY and PAUL, 22 are driving down the streets of Winnipeg. The sun is bright and shining and the tress are blooming. Inside the car an upbeat pop song is playing.

After months of crying and attempting to convince myself I was over Steven, that I was better than that and I didn’t need him in my life I thought I had finally accomplished it. He finally couldn’t hurt me anymore. I found myself happy and spending a wonderful afternoon with Paul. Paul was nice, a real good guy, he was safe and I really did like him... but for some reason that day I couldn’t stop thinking about Steven.

You ok Stace?

Fine. Why?

You just seem a little off today. You’re really quiet, just not usual bubbly self.

Sorry hun. I just have a lot on my mind, no biggie. I’m all good.

But it was a big deal. Everywhere I was I thought of him, of all the fun, of all the good times... and now he was having them with her. Just when I thought he couldn’t hurt me anymore it felt like he was ripping my heart to pieces.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeling Lucky? A deeper look into St. Patrick's Day.

As today is St. Patrick's Day I thought it fitting to dedicate my blog post today to the Irish holiday.

Thinking about it, I realized I don't know very much about St. Patrick's Day, the traditions surrounding it or even why we celebrate it. All I really know is that on March 17 I go out dressed in green, drink way too much green beer and enjoy the music and company of many others doing the same thing I am.

So what is St. Patrick's Day really? Well put your green beers down and read on to find out.

St. Patrick's Day is a celebration to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. When it first started it was a Catholic holiday, and turned into a feast day. It was believed to be a one day break during Lent, which you were allowed to feast and drink. It became an official Irish holiday in 1903.

Now it is celebrated by parades, the longest in Canada taking place in Montreal, and people gathering to eat, drink and be merry.
Who is St. Patrick?

Well according to Wikipedia, little is known about Patrick's early life. He was born in Roman Britain in the fifth century and at the age of 16 was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. During this time he converted from paganism to Christianity, and went on to become a bishop after returning to Britain. He later returned to Ireland to convert the pagans to Christianity and was very successful in his endeavors.

According to Irish folklore he used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland. Which explains why the shamrock is one of the most common symbols of St. Patrick's Day.

Shamrocks, Four-Leaf Clover, Leprechauns

Shamrocks are a tradition due to Christianity. It is said that St. Patrick used shamrocks to teach the pagans about the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).

Four-Leaf Clover

Because most clovers only have three leaves, finding a rare four-leaf clover is said to bring you good luck. It is believed that each leaf on these rare clovers means something different.
1. hope
2. faith
3. love
4. happiness

According to legend leprechauns look like little old men and dresses like a shoemaker. He is very sneaky and unfriendly. They spend there time looking after their pots of gold and fixing the shoes of the Irish Fairies. Legend says if you catch one you can force him to show you his pot of gold, but be sure not to take your eyes off him or he will vanish and you will never find his gold.

Now that you know a little more about this holiday, make sure you wear your green, drink your beer, and be on the look out for four-leaf clovers and leprechauns.
Enjoy the day to celebrate the luck o' the Irish.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Good times in Arborg, Manitoba

For a journalism/advertising assignment we were instructed to break into small groups and travel "beyond the perimeter" to a small town of our choice. My group consistent of the lovely Jen Hanson, John Rymon and Tammy Karatchuk, and on Friday we piled into Tammy's new car and hit Highway 7 all the way to Arborg.

*Interesting Fact: Tammy Karatchuk was born in Arborg.*
The drive down was filled with... shall I say interesting.... conversation, I'd tell you all about it but what happens in Tammy's car stay in Tammy's car. After about two hours of driving down the foggy highway we finally saw it, the town sign, Welcome to Arborg.
Tammy took us on a driving tour of the town... which only lasted about 10 minutes, and we ended up at her old high school. In Winnipeg they won't let you just walk around a high school and in classrooms while school is in session, but in Arborg they just let the four of us walk right in. We even got an impromptu interview with the school principal, Arlene Perry. She told us all about the new band program and raved about Arborg Collegiate. Graduating from a high school where my graduating class was just under 300, I found it very strange to see a high school being so small and looking at grad pictures with only 32 graduating students.

After the high school, Tammy drove us to the bar at the Arborg hotel. The hotel and burned down twice since its opening, and had just re-opened. The decor was stunning, bamboo floors and black tables. It was not what I had expected to see in a small town bar. However they were playing the country music that I had expected to hear.

The hotel itself was just as impressive and classy as the bar. As Owen Eyolfson, the owner of the Arborg hotel said, " Just because you're in a small town doesn't mean you have to make everything look like a tin shed."

After that we decided to stop in at the Chicken Chef for lunch, where I had the best onion rings. I still dream of those onion rings... and that milkshake... mmmm milkshake.

Anyways, we then went to see the curling rock and as any good tourists would do we took crazy amounts of pictures in front of it, managing to get some weird looks from the locals.

On the way home we stopped at Tammy's farm and got a brief tour of where she'd grown up. Then it was back to reality and the big city for us. Sad to leave the small town atmosphere, but very happy to be near a Timmies again!

I would also like to thank Jen Hanson for allowing me to use her photos of the trip on my blog. Thanks Jen!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vampire Academy

Reading has always been my favorite escape from the pressures and stress of the real world. I can pull out a book and within minutes I'm in some far away land, away from all the troubles that come with living life.

One of my good friends, Caitlin Shale, recommended this book series Vampire Academy and I started reading and I was hooked! I finished the book in a few hours and the next day I was at Chapters buying the next two books in the series.

I love the book because it is so easy to get lost in their world. The world is a mix between real life and vampire fantasy. The characters have such qualities that you feel as if you know who they are, almost like they are people in your real life.

I don't want to give too much away about the book but I suggest everyone go out and read them. They are an easy read that doesn't involve much thinking, perfect for those stressful days where you want to escape from life for a while.

Here is the back of the book for all of you.

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires- the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa'a best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger... and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever...

Their problems will make yours seem so small that the world seems like a better place after reading these books. Plus who doesn't love forbidden love and dangerous vampires? Go to Chapters and buy the books!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Facebook or Twitter???

Facebook or Twitter? That is the question. A question I have found people have many answers to. People seem to use both these social media sites for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.

I am a Facebook girl. I love Facebook, after my e-mail it is the first thing I check.... I believe I may have an addiction. I use it to keep in contact with old friends, family that has moved away, to see pictures of ... well everything. I love the photos (I spend WAY too much time going through other people's photos...) and the status updates. I enjoy knowing what my friends are up to, it makes me feel like a part of their day even if they are hours and hours away. Facebook also makes inviting people to events so much easier! Long gone are the days of telephone calls and written invitations.

Me and Twitter don't get along quite so well. Probably mostly because I don't understand it. But I go on these types of websites to keep up with friends, I don't really care what businesses and celebrities are up to, I can find that out other ways.

So to find out what other people really use these sites for I came up with the brilliant idea of asking them!

I found that most of my friends are also Facebook people. (probably why we're friends) They use it in the same way I do, to stay in touch with people and to creep peoples profile pages. (Don't judge. You do it too!)

My friends who use Twitter like it because you get the "Status Updates" and you can find out famous people and companies are doing. You can also get your news from Twitter, which is not something so easily done on Facebook.

Facebook or Twitter? For me it is Facebook, always has and always will be. (It's not real until it's on Facebook) But for many people Twitter does serve a purpose.

So I ask one last time. Facebook or Twitter, which is for you?