Outlining a Story with the Snowflake Method

i-got-a-2-dollar-handjob-from-your-sisterA good friend of mine suggested this outlining method to another writing group member and after looking through the steps, this is another way I plan on outlining my own nano-monstrosity.

Similar to the Cat Method from a few days ago, this one takes specific stages in order to plot and plan the order of madness around the brainstorming of ideas flowing. The snowflake method begins by starting small, literally with a single sentence, and blossoming into a giant multi-spanning goldmine of branches and sugar-dipped awesome sauce that can only further sustain your own creativity into fiction.

Step 1: Summarize the entirety of your story, conflict, pain, or whatever the main “gist” of the goal into one simple and solitary sentence.

For instance, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer/Philosopher’s Stone summary would go something like “A young boy with a legendary past travels to a wizards school while facing fears to learn about a hidden world.” I’m pretty terrible at writing these things, but the idea is to make them as tight and short as possible. The original creator of the Snowflake method, Randy Ingermanson, said to try getting the sentence down to 15 words. I think that’s impossible – but I’ll leave that up to you. (I also linked his page if you click on his name.)

Also, leave out details such as proper nouns of places and names to make the biggest part of the blurb focus on what the main goal of the book is all about. This simplifies the step one process. Cause it’s about to get stupid.

Step 2: Take the one sentence summary above and expand it into a paragraph outlining the main components of conflict.

The example here (sticking with the Harry Potter Book 1 theme:) is “Harry receives a letter from a strange school requesting his presence. When his foster/step parents refuse, a Wizard collects Harry and tells him about his past and who is really is, not the worthless step-child who lives under the stairs. On the way to school, he meets Hermione and Ron and quickly becomes friends. At school, the three learn that there is something hidden in the school that the evil wizard Voldemort wants to become human again. Voldemort happens to be the Wizard who killed Harry’s parents. While trying to find information, the tree use their best abilities to work toward a common goal and defeat the teacher allowing Voldemort into the School.”

And so on and so forth. This is more useful for setting up the big conflicts and fail-points within the story itself. If you know ahead of time what points you plan on hitting when the writing starts, this is perfect since you can then bridge everything from it. Or, if you plan on panting everything, just write the conflicts that come to your head and see where it takes you. In many cases, the first sentence should be used for the setup and backdrop, then the next three sentences should be conflict/resolution. While the last sentence summarizes the finale. There are multiple formats for this section, and in many cases, this is the part that will most likely change while you even write the rest of this outline.

Step 3: Since the part two is the high-level overview of the arc, part three is the further branching of the main characters. Begin with the main character’s name, and one sentence describing them in as much detail as possible. I like to think I’m trying to describe them to a 4-year-old and keep having to hold their attention, so I have to make it as interesting as possible. Next, write a sentence about their main motivation in the story. Then, write one sentence about their ultimate goal for this book. Next, what are their main conflicts in the story? How many? Write one sentence for each conflict and how they fail trying to solve them (since the story won’t be interesting unless we see real conflict.) Then write one sentence about how that character grows/grew or what they learned on their journey – or what they plan on achieving ultimately. And finally, a small one paragraph outline of their own storyline.

Tip: After you do this for a few characters, go back and alter Step 1 and Step 2. Go ahead. I know…I know.. But don’t worry, this isn’t the only time you’ll want to do this.

Step 4: By this stage you should know the idea of where the main story is going. You know the conflicts, where the people are, what they’re doing, and how they plan on doing it. The idea is to look for any broken areas within the story itself. All conflicts and climaxes end in disaster except the ending, and everything else filters out through your smaller synopses paragraphs because you have them in a sort of “short-hand” outline-ish view.

This part is building the skeleton of the novel. Don’t worry about details as of this point. World building and timelines aren’t as important at this stage unless they’re integral to the main plot element. At this point, you’re looking for large holes where things are missing for the flow of continuity. Sub-plots and all that goodness come next.

Step 5: Take each character and build a full-page point of view of the story synopsis from their perspective. Walk in their shoes and see what happens.

For example, going back to Harry Potter: Write a page on what happens from Hermione’s first-person perspective. Then Ron’s, then Dumbledoor’s . . . the idea is to build the world they live in through the eyes of the characters. This also gives the characters more life to breathe within the world itself.

Step 6: This is where the expansion blossoms into full bloom. Take everything you have up to this point and build it into a full four-page synopsis outlining each act and character arc within. This is still high-level enough to not need details, but strategic enough so you can fix any problems with sub-plots and smaller character arcs within and around the main arc itself.

Tip: Here’s another spot you can go back and fix things in earlier steps now that you know more about the entirety of the world and the characters both. Fix as much as you can now, so that you have less to fix later.

Step 7: Write full-fledged character sheets on the main characters – both protagonist and antagonist. The writer of this method doesn’t go into too much detail into how to do this other than “full name, birthday, history, etc.” but I would suggest using the Character Profile sheet on the Roundtable Podcast website as a foundation since I know first-hand that it kicks much ass.

Tip: You got it. Go back and fill in more details.

Step 8: Make a spreadsheet of all the scenes from Step 6. In one column, list the POV character, next to it write the general synopsis for the scene. If you want to set goals for each scene, list how many words or pages you’d like to see each scene in an additional column. This way you can go back and have a checklist of each scene (and rearrange them as you write) in case they move depending on the way the story writes.

Don’t get discouraged when the spreadsheet grows to huge numbers. The creator of this method mentions his spreadsheets are often 1,000 lines long.

Step 9: Go back to the word processor and take each scene, writing down ideas for each line in the spreadsheet. Things you’d like to see happen such as cool dialog prompts or a specific disturbing event. If a scene doesn’t have conflict or a climax of some sort, you know right then it’s time to delete the scene or re-write it into something else.

Opinion: Personally, this step seems like overkill. I can understand the spreadsheet for goal markers, but then taking the goals and expounding them to see if they work? No. I’ll fix that in post.

Step 10: Write the first draft. Because of all the pre-work you’ve put into the story already, this step flies into the word processor. The author of the method mentions people complaining about much of the creativity being lost due to the pre-work, however none of the creative juice in physically telling the story has happened. That’s what THIS part is for.

And before this post grows any longer in words, have fun writing! And don’t forget that this is fun!

-Chris

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Nanowrimo’s Hidden Agenda and Some Helpful Tips

82c13f044c171997aa27f337b9bad369The point of Nanowrimo (hereby forevermore known as simply “nano” since writing that entire thing out is ridiculous,) is to learn to write every day.

That’s it.

No fundraisers.

No secret handshakes in the dark alleyway behind the adult bookstore.

And it’s not like you have to write a large amount of word every day either.

I know writing 50,000 words throughout the entire month of November seems next to impossible, but if you break it down mathematically, it’s not so bad at all.

It’s 1,667 words a day. Or 69.4 words an hour. To put that in perspective, this post up to this word HERE is 102 words and it took me 4 minutes to write. Granted, I type faster than most people and I’m thinking about what I’m going to say next, which are things that may help me come nano time. But everyone writes different.

The key things to know or remember about this nano writing schedule is basically this:

  • First drafts always suck. They are only written to get the crap out of your head and onto the page so you can get to the editing stages of having it make sense later.
  • Turn off your internal editor while writing a first draft. Trust me on this one, no one but yourself cares if you spelled “THE” TEH a few times. Fix it later. For now, just get those words out of your head and onto the page.
  • If you’re a pantser (one who likes to write without an outline,) go wherever the characters tell you to go and keep writing until the story tells you it’s over. You can nuke characters, change names, re-write endings/beginnings, add scenes, delete scenes, and all that goodness later.
  • If you’re an outliner (one who sticks to a basic formula of storytelling,) Don’t get discouraged if your characters veer off into unwarranted territory. It happens. If the new area is better than the outline, change the outline. If the new area sucks – make a new page, and keep writing.
  • NEVER DELETE ANYTHING. Always ALWAYS use strikethrough which looks something like this to let your future self know you weren’t happy with it while writing, but maybe with a little less alcohol in your system it wasn’t too bad of an idea.
  • Frustration happens. Some days the words flow like chilled apple cider. Enjoy those days. Embrace those days. Write as much as your eyelids and swollen finger joints will allow. Other days, writing 250 words feel like maybe the root canal would have been a better idea even without the novocaine. 250 words is better than nothing. Take it. Enjoy it. Go to bed and write more tomorrow.
  • Set a goal. If you want 1667 to be your daily word count goal, then do it. If you want to write for 60 minutes, do that. If you have a specific album that you listen to while writing, listen to the entirety of the album while writing. But set realistic goals and enjoy the fact that you can put them aside for when real-life happens.
  • You will notice that once you start writing, specifically this occurs (for me anyway) with writing fiction where I will get random ideas from out of no where. I’ll write a scene involving a space station and revolting workers striking against the alien foreman trying to work the humans to death and *BAM* idea in my head about a Duck Pond that’s secretly a listening pool for the NSA to spy on old Nazi war criminals and learn about their plans for the second rising of RoboHitler. Get a program like Evernote, something that sync’s notes between all your devices, and jot down the idea there. That way, when you’re done with the idea for nano, you can start on the not-so-fascinating RoboHitler story.
  • Sleep, eat, poo, pee, walk, breathe, and try to get some sunlight if you’re not in an underground bunker. It all helps.
  • The biggest one for me: hide the word count. Write the story YOU want to write and stop looking at that damn word count.

And if there’s anything that helps YOU, please leave a comment below. I rarely edit this stuff, so have fun.

-Chris

Outlining a Fictional Story With The Cat Method.

Funny CatToday’s tip specifically focuses on one of the more popular ways a creative person can plan ideas into a form of story-arc structure before the writing process begins. There are many ways one can outline; from the roman numeral traditional model taught in elementary school, to cloud mapping, and even brain mapping software.

This method is known as “Save The Cat,” or “Blank Check,” since screenwriters and Hollywood use this formula in many movies and screenplays. I simply call it “The Cat Method.” Blake Synder, the brilliant author of the book “Save the Cat,” and the screenwriter for movies such as “Blank Check” and “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!” heralded as one of Hollywood’s leading creative screenwriter.

The main idea behind the cat method of outlining isn’t entirely delving deep into the details of each chapter and scene, instead it plants a focal point for specific markers that trigger when things within the story happen. This is a great way for new or beginning authors to focus their story into conflict/story/arc/act models, and the best part about the method is it’s easily interchangeable as the story progresses without a huge change within the overall arc.

The Cat Method follows 15 simple steps; each one containing a “Beat” to signify what section or part of the story has the main elements from the individual steps. And you’ll notice a mathematical or circular rotation to how these steps rotate within themselves – a perfect blend for what happens with your own story. This doesn’t mean make 15 chapters, this simply means write your story as you would, but dedicate each beat in the cat method to fully fleshing out the entire beat to make sure the reader understands the purpose.

1. The Opening Image: The powerful opening image to hook the viewer/reader. It sets the tone, overlays the genre, and gives the feeling of normalcy – which will soon be demolished by the arc of the story itself.
2. Theme Stated: A character outright states what the plot is about in a grand theme of ultimate foreshadowing, and in many of the best practices, this is not the main character. The main character or protagonist must grow or endure the journey before understanding what this means.
3. Set-up: The world unfolds before the readers’ eyes, the main characters introduced (including many antagonists who may not start off as bad,) and further states the normalcy to disrupt the main conflict for which comes next.
4. The Main Catalyst: This is the wake-up call. This part causes the main character(s) to take action and move out of the set-up phase to stir more conflict. This is a great place to introduce more foreshadowing.
5. Debating with Reality: The main character(s) do not know what to do yet. They still cling to their belief of reality and normalcy despite the world around them changing. Self-doubt, conflicting reluctance, and forced resolution make them decide an (often terrible) option for moving forward.
6. Breaks into two: The end of Act 1. The main character(s) leave the broken world of normalcy behind and the main journey begins. This is usually when something catastrophic happens.
7. B Story: The start of the secondary or sub-plot. It can be a love story or something underlying where additional characters come in to join the journey or help the characters with the central plot as a side-plot. A common rule of thumb is each character and plot offers more than two reasons to exist within the story.
8. Fun and Games: The characters see setbacks from conflicts and learn how to overcome them. They learn about their powers or gifts or learn to trust outside of their comfort zone. This is where the main characters stretch their legs and the reader learns and understands more about the character in a personal level through trial and error.
9. Midpoint: All the stakes raise. The second-highest conflict occurs in the plot where all hope is almost lost, but barely.
10. Bad Guys Close In: Things often get worse. The characters become trapped, maimed, captured, stripped of powers, etc. This is where usually one of them says, “Well, things can’t get much worse.”
11. The Things Got Worse: The characters are at their lowest point. The only possible way to overcome this point is a moment of metaphysical death to make way for future rebirth.
12. Dark Night of the Soul: The Second turning point. The main realization of what has happened and what the characters have lost during the struggle and journey. This is also where the main debate whether to push on or give up exists.
13. Break into Three: End of Act 2: The characters decide one last hurrah to give it another go thanks to the help of friends and realization. Believing in new hope and guidance gives the characters courage to push forward and try something new to help the main cause.
14. Finale: The character has found something new, such as an outlook, knowledge, a weapon of ultimate power, or whatever. They have transformed it into themselves and linked it back to the theme to complete the arc.
15. Final Scene: The last scene(s) show the change in the characters and world, as juxtaposition against the opening scene for the main contrast and give the story closure for all the components involved. End of Act 3.

It does help to have at least the beginning and ending of the story already known, as well as who the main characters are in the plot. Another good tip for new writers (and honestly some old ones too:) Don’t be afraid to drop parts of your outline and start over if your characters are taking your story in a different direction than what you planned – IF, and only IF, that direction is better than what you had in your outline. There isn’t a single story I’ve written where at least part of the outline wasn’t scrapped because the characters used me as a conduit for telling their own twisted tale.

See y’all tomorrow!

-Chris

Nano – A Week Until

bad-writingGreetings fellow ink slingers, pen monkeys, and keyboard poets. This marks one week until the proverbial smashing of a wine bottle on the ships’ hull of NaNoWriMo.

Are you going to write this year?

As usual, I’ll be my annoying self, giving tips and tricks to everyone who ignores me on how to write the worlds worst first-draft possible since all first-drafts are the worst possible. No one ever sat down as a new writer and shat out a pristine first draft where the angels came down from toilet papered fluffy clouds and sang the high praises of the unknown newb author who never wrote a paragraph before, let alone an entire book, who just happened to hit the specific dice roll right on the nose. It doesn’t work that way. Ever. Stop thinking it will. In same vein: how confident are you at a successful brain transplant when you’ve never taken a single class in anatomy and only worked on weekends as a gardener for the sexy MILF in the giant house with the in-ground pool, hoping beyond hope that one movie you saw in high school was a documentary and not some sleazy porno?

Writing takes a gallant effort. It takes patience. It takes dedication, and imagination, and creativity, and a slightly insane outlook on life as a whole, however, it is still one of those unique things in life where anyone can write. Quality depends on how much you want to bleed into revisions and editing the first draft of toilet paper. The biggest benefit of writing? You can suck bad, like “Springtime for Hitler” bad, and still fix it during an edit to make it better.

But any first draft can turn into a golden ticket. It all starts with a terrible first draft.

Are you willing to write a terrible first draft with me? I’m going to write the worst first draft in history. 

I’m PUMPED.

Ready?

Tomorrow I’ll start with some outlining tips and tricks for how you can make your best terrible first draft and get that story out of your head that’s been plaguing your nightmares since 2nd grade.

You’re ready for this.

-Chris

(And if you like, go sign up at http://www.nanowrimo.org and add me as a friend, DrChrisTallant.)

Opinion – Notch (Some Microsoft-Minecraft)

maxresdefaultThe headlines from every gaming news site today stated the following:

Microsoft buys Minecraft for 2.5 Billion dollars.

But every article underneath that headline complained about something different. Some were speculating what Microsoft was going to do with the IP, some were complaining how long before Microsoft crippled the EULA, and some even called Notch a coward for giving up his creation.

I’d like to clarify that I don’t know Notch personally, although I spoke with him on an interview once, we have not kept in touch since that original recording many moons ago. But, creative-type people typically don’t think the same way business-type people think. And this fact was ignored on every – single – damn – outlet – listed.

Not once did anyone say “Thank you Mojang and programming crew for the fabulous foundation for which to build a new digital Lego frontier on the Microsoft front of gaming dominance.” Nor did they take any of the heat off Notch for announcing his leaving Mojang shortly after the Microsoft announcement for his own sanity.

Do I know why Microsoft spent a metric ass-ton of money on this IP? Yes.

Do I care? Not in the slightest. Because, truth be told, it isn’t about gaming; it is pure business. And unless you want to read about how market share and saturation works, I’m pretty sure you don’t care either.

The bigger news I saw in this whole debacle was how Mojang – and specifically one of the brightest and most creative minds behind fun video games – BLATANTLY QUIT because his own public fan-base thought they were better than him.

Shame on you. Shame on you all.

Notch himself hasn’t programmed a damn thing in Minecraft in years. He has admitted it not only on his blog, but many times on twitter and in various interviews. He let the other programmers take the reins to build a better game for the public.

Read the last sentence again. Does that indicate a business-minded mentality?

What does that tell you about Notch as a human being? He’s not programming games for a paycheck. He’s programming games because he loves to create. It’s the creative instinct. If the inspiration and imagination doesn’t build new ideas for troubleshooting and dreaming of the ideas, it feels empty and unfulfilled. Notch isn’t here to make a few dollars off your mod or server farm, he wants to give you the most fun you can have on a game he developed. Even if it’s by proxy through his own team of developers.

So, to keep his own sanity, he quit. Like many others in the creative world who are chewed up by “fans” masquerading as followers but are nothing more than narcissistic assholes trying to berate someone for thinking or acting different than someone else. Grow up, and stop bullying. This isn’t grade school.

In many cases within the professional world, it is often suggested that athletes, actors, singers, and people with high-profile names DO NOT interact with the public for this very reason. I don’t blame any of them one bit. Similar to the chat worlds within most MOAB’s, the internet comment factory is filled with some of the most hateful vitriol ever spewed forth from literature. And as much as I am for free speech, I would love nothing more than the send a chatlog history to everyone in your family.

Here’s Notch’s “Going Away” speech, since his site crashed earlier, no doubt because of an internet hug:

I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.

I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.

I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.

Personally, I think the thing to take away from here is summed up in a solitary line from Notch: “If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”

Well said, brother. Sad, but well said.

And don’t let ANYONE keep you from doing what you love.

EVER.

Make the art you want to make.

Love the job you love doing.

And if others don’t like what you are doing, that isn’t your problem – it’s theirs.

-Opinion by me.

Nanowrimo Daily Encouragement.

Just a little quick question/poll/show of hands:

Last year I did a thing for NaNoWriMo where I posted a bit of encouragement for each day of the contest to help those participating with trying to get through their first draft.

Is that something you folks would like to see again this year? I know it’s still a few months off, but I could begin planning ahead for the trek early.

Okay. I don’t know if I’ve done a poll on WordPress before, but if this fails, forgive me. Or not, I’m not your daddy.

This will run for a week and then we’ll see what happens. Good luck! I hope you win! Oh, it’s not that type of poll.

-Chris

Hearthstone Nerf-a-thon

YZPLPTDNPDHE1394153616248Blizzard stated in March of 2014 there are over 10 million Hearthstone subscribers playing their free-to-play strategy card game. Since Hearthstone bridged from the PC/OSX beta last year to the iOS-iPad release a few months ago, competitive playing on the ladder blossomed into a deep meta-game of predictable decks with mostly repetitive play. Granted, this overt-generalization occurred once a player achieved a higher ladder ranking than average; or in my estimate: a rank above 14-12.

I noticed the main “grinding” decks for the easiest ladder climbing often came down players using the Warlock “Zoo” deck, a Hunter “Beast/Draw” deck, or a Rogue “Miracle” deck. The benefit from playing Zoo allowed a player new to the game to create a deck with cheap minions with low-cast-costs where the goal sent every available resource at their opponents face or using the hero power to draw another cheap minion. The Beast deck required more skill than Zoo, however required a specific combo of Starving Buzzard and Unleash The Hounds in hand to achieve maximum card draw and damage to the enemy minions and/or their chinny-chin-chin. The Miracle Rogue deck is often one many new players struggle with the most, since it requires many higher-rarity cards and the know-how to make decisions against each opponent before the combo of Gadgetzan Auctioneer and the handful of low-mana-cost cards to cycle through the deck and draw the final win condition with Cold Blood and Leeroy Jenkins, among others.

Blizzard announced on September 12 that “In an upcoming patch . . . we have decided to make balance changed to Leeroy Jenkins (Neutral) and Starving Buzzard (Hunter).” Source here: (http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/forum/topic/14279128810)

Most of the people from various forums found the information either a personal attack on their play-style of choice, or welcomed the change with opened arms. It depends honestly on your play style and which decks one plays most often. Granted, these two cards are in almost everyone’s deck where applicable, but that’s not the point.

To summarize the main article: Starving Buzzard changes from its current mana cost of 2 with a power and toughness of 2/1, and increases the mana cost to 5, while power and toughness to 3/2. This now means that the combo of Unleash The Hounds and Buzzard from playing on turn 5 to now playing on turn 8. Basically neutering the Hunter best deck (and most common variants including trap/control and even Highmane control since UTH/Buzzard utilized the card draw aspect early on to keep tempo pace with other mid-range decks.)

The Leeroy Jenkins change is less dramatic and still playable in most decks, however still significant in the most popular. The mana cost of 4 increases to 5, stopping decks such as Miracle rogue and the suicidal Hand-Lock from dropping Leeroy and a pump-up card (such as Power Overwhelming or Cold Blood) only to Faceless Manipulator the enhanced card and swing for lethal damage in a single turn.

The good thing is Hunters and Miracle are still viable on the ladder – for now. My free Asia and UK accounts use various forms of zoo/murlock and my own bastardized free hunter deck with some of the newer Naxx drops thrown in for versatility. So far, the ranks between 18-14 are 40-50% Hunter or Zoo variants with Miracle closer to the top, however I expect them to drop dramatically after this patch drops.

The good thing is a cheap Leeroy alternative is the less-rare Arcane Golem, although he doesn’t pack the same punch as Leeroy. However, I feel the community will find other cards to work around the nerd to Leeroy, or simply bring in other cards to fill the roles of those no longer used.

Hunters, however, may need to find a new style of playing the class mechanic all together. Since the Buzzard+UTH combo puts the draw bonus on par with a Rogue’s Vanish, maybe the more creative among us in the community can find some beneficial tricks to use Buzzards in a more unique fashion for maximum potential.

The patch tentatively drops on September 22nd.

-Chris

ISAAC NEW-TON!

2f0d1a82acc7893fcda4e8c656ca49c3d1b34c01338529ed3e3194ec145d2435Sir Isaac Newton

(Sung to the tune of the Spongebob Squarepants theme)

Oohhhhhhhhh
Who was hit by a crabapple under a tree
Isaac Newton
Devoping calculus and all gravity
Isaac Newton
If Mathematical Genius be something you yearn
Isaac Newton
Then grab a telescope and seek to learn
ready?
Isaac Newton
Issac Newton
Issac Newton
Isaac . . .
Newton
(Laughs)

Weekend Update. (In a LOONG while.)

It has been a little while since I’ve posted anything worth reading on here, and for that I apologize.fsjFL

I could give the standard barrage of excuses: work, college, family, cancer, the flooding in Detroit, pain, time, migraines, cat pictures, or any other numerous reasons.

I’m not fond of excuses. I find them tacky. Granted, they are all true, however these are all great speaking points or even better writing prompts, but I stick to my original statement: excuses are something I find offensive and vulgar. They shouldn’t happen, however, they often do.

Instead of some strange philosophical debate on owning up to imaginary promises, I tend to rectify this by simply writing more.

I’m also going to deactivate this account from my Facebook page. Because for multiple reasons: one including the cross advertisement from Twitter, but another being that many people on Facebook simply don’t care what happens outside of Facebook. There is no reason to annoy everyone multiple times with a simple update. (Pro-tip: Follow @tallant_chris on twitter for updates and more funny nonsense.)

I have also taken to the art of practicing poetry, and I employ the denizens of the internet to barrage the poems with the fiercest comments imaginable. I’m terrible at poetry, and the only way to improve, is by practice. Perhaps this way I can learn more by having some people who either hate poetry comment on how benign the work is in its current state, or maligned comments on the state of my sexual orientation and have nothing to do with words whatsoever. Either way is fine by me.

So, sit back, and enjoy weird crap birthing into the world again. Wait, that sounds like a poop joke.

-Chris

Hearthstone End of April Test Results.

you can do itHere it is, the end of Hearthstone’s first official season. Things changed drastically in the last few days thanks to various odds and ends, although I can only say I’m partly at fault for one of them.

The scientific test went as follows: two accounts, one “paid” and one “free”, proving to the people complaining about how Hearthstone is purely a “pay to win” game that there is no truth to their accusations and gives me a reason to play more.

On the NA servers, which is my paid account, the highest I achieved on ranking was 12, with the last day bombarding me back down to 14 thanks to a 8-game loss of 8 hunter decks in a row. This is usually unheard of, and I typically play 10 games before calling it quits, but I didn’t want to lose any more stars to cheesy hunters. I settled on my main Hand-warlock-control deck called “Sherlocked” and couldn’t compete with the speed and balance of beating myself up while hunters UTH overtook everything else. My final ranking for the paid rank : 14.

On the EU servers, a similar issue, except it wasn’t players causing me grief, it was something to do with sprites and lag on Blizzard’s end. Since this is a controlled experiment, I used the same two free-based decks I was using, only substituting cards gathered from arena packs, and started at 14. However, disaster struck when two days before the final day, Hearthstone apparently was the victim of a massive DDOS attack. I’m going to blame priests, since they piss me off the most in-game anyway.

What would happen is a game would start, we would greet each other, start a few turns, and the game would freeze. The iPad would show a message saying “Attempting to reconnect” and then show a message saying “The last ranked game resulted in a loss.” This happened all the way back to rank 20, before the network stabilized and I could finish playing games and get back to 16.

To summarize, I ranked in the US at 14 using a Handlock Warlock and a rush-Warrior deck, and 16 in the EU using a control Hunter and rush Paladin deck. I plan on doing the test again during Season 2 of Hearthstone, however given the network issues and the severe rush of players at the end of the season, I would say this is accurate of what to expect. Given the highest I ranked were about the same on both servers throughout the season, the pay-to-play model doesn’t matter. I plan to continue playing since many people show the higher ranks (>10 ) see more structured decks involving the more pricier cards, but we’ll see how this plays out.

Keep playing, and congrats to everyone who achieved legend or under 20 and saw new card backs!

-Chris