Friday, October 16, 2020

Episode 22: The Holy Moment

Hi guys, it’s a new podcast episode, ad-free! James has advice for writing opening scenes and I basically agree with him for once. Plus, James almost gets hit by a meteor and I sing the praises of Minneapolis Community and Technical College.


Robert K S said...

James, I loved to write choose-your-own-adventure programs for my Atari 800XL when I was a kid!

I often ran into difficulty because the random number generator would always return the same number.

If I had Google in 1988 I could have learned that I needed to use a "RANDOMIZE" statement: "If you are using an IBM PC, Atari ST, or Amiga, you get the same sequence of ten numbers each time you run the program. Knowing this sequence may help when you are debugging a program, but if you use the same sequence for a game, the game soon loses its appeal. So, for the IBM PC, Atari ST, and Amiga computers, you'll need to add the RANDOMIZE statement. RANDOMIZE needs to appear before any use of RND."


Only took me 32 years to solve that mystery

James Kennedy said...

Robert! That takes me back. I recently dug my trusty Atari 800XL out of storage and have been playing some of the old games I programmed decades ago. I didn't have a disk drive at first, and was instead obliged to store programs on audio tape (!!) via the Atari 410, a tape-recorder device that took literally a half hour for stuff to load. The upside, though: you could also use the same device to play standard audio tapes through the TV speaker, and I used it to include "real-life" audio samples in my games. When I wrote a "Star Wars" X-wings-against-the-Death-Star game, I made it so that all the movie's actual pilot chatter and sound effects and John Williams music would play at appropriate times during one's progress through outer space and down the trench. Not bad for an 8-bit computer in 1986 . . . and amazingly, it all still works!

J Friday said...

I really like the sound of The Holy or Sublime Moment. As much as The Moment of Grace. (I’ve listened to that one multiple times — apparently it’s underrated!) I know you guys go back and forth over whether storytelling is about solving problems vs a religious/spiritual experience, but the religious language works and — isn’t religion about solving problems with unknown solutions anyway? And faith/acceptance that humans can’t know/do anything and therefore rely on unknown forces all the time?

That said, isn’t The Sublime Moment just the opening image and foreshadowing? Or is there something more? I think Brandon Sanderson’s promise and payoff is covering similar ground. You have a short time at the beginning of the story to make a “promise” to the the audience. You pay it off by bringing back those themes and feelings throughout the story, and especially at the end. Am I on the same page here?

Also wanted to point out that The Fugitive doesn’t open with the party, it opens with searchlights in the credits and flashes of Kimble’s wife being murdered. Then Kimble getting in the back of a police car. In the beginning, he’s getting in the back to be then unjustly convicted. In the ending, he’s presumably on his way to be exonerated. So the ending is just a mirrored/recontextualized version of the beginning.

English really needs to separate all the meanings for love into different words like Greek. The Fugitive was totally a love story. Just not a romantic love story.

Anyway, would really love to see you guys dive back into this concept and clarify the rough edges.