Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anna's Mind

I don’t play video games. They bore me. But I’m quite diverted by machinima, a form of animation that uses 3-D graphics, often from video games, and then adds new voice-overs to tell a narrative.

One of my favorite exampl
es of machinima is Freeman’s Mind.“Freeman’s Mind is a [online] science-fiction comedy series that follows the thoughts of Dr. Gordon Freeman, a 27 year old physicist and protagonist of the [video] game Half-Life...In the game Half-Life, Freeman is entirely silent and has no actual personality. In Freeman’s Mind, he is a highly vocal and neurotic individual with paranoid and delusional tendencies.” -- Ross Scott, creator of Freeman’s mind, www.accusedfarms.com

I was thinking how cool it would be to find a video game about a writer and add all the thoughts in voice-overs. Let’s imagine this scene – part of the series Anna’s Mind. The writer/heroine is jetting off to Puerto Rico for a thrilling week of writing, dodging bad-ass iguanas, and drinking staggering quantities of rum.

A tall, handsome dude sits next to the heroine on the airplane.

Heroine’s voice-over: “OMG, he looks just like the hero in my book. I can’t believe he’s sitting next to me. I can’t believe he exists in real life. Don’t turn red. Don’t turn red.”

She opens her laptop, mulls how to revise the sucky opening scene, and he asks, “Are you a writer?”

The adrenaline rush heats the heroine’s face.

In voice-over, she says with arm-pumping certainty, “YES! He talked to me and knows I’m a writer. He peered into my repressed little soul. He probably thinks I’m cool. I am cool. Well...I’ll pretend like I’m cool.”

Then Mr. Hero-lookalike asks the dreaded question, “What do you write.”

“About you,” she thinks aloud.

As the animator, I’m going to push button “A“ to move her laptop out of sight because she doesn’t want him to see that what she writes really is...crap.

Her voice-over says, “Jeesh, I hope he didn’t see what crap I write. I hate it when people try to read while I’m writing. It’s almost like having someone watch me go to the bathroom. I wonder if he’s a perv. He doesn’t look like a perv, but you never know. I hope he doesn’t put on those cheap-ass ear phones to listen to Kenny G. “

Hey, who invited that neurotic and paranoid Dr. Gordon Freeman into my machinima?

This isn’t going to work. No one will ever make a video game about the act of writing. It isn’t exotic or thrilling. It doesn’t involve guns or take place in underground tunnels full of aliens and radioactive goo. It involves lots of coffee and reward snacks and takes place in semi-daylight. For example, let’s look at where I wrote today. This morning at the coffee house, I sat facing an electrical outlet. The holes look like a sad face, like someone who’s disappointed that I ate the last piece of cheesecake. Voice-over: “Hey, you neither licked it nor put your name on it. It was so delicious.” Later, I plopped on the orange couch in the photo. It used to be a frou-frou, fugly country-blue plaid monstrosity, but I recovered into a mod masterpiece. Impressive, n’est pas? I wish someone would be that impressed by my writing. You put your soul into writing, but only your blood into upholstery (lots of blades, staples and big scary needles required, kind of brain surgery). By the way, that’s Pauline the Cat hanging on the window screen. Voice-over: “Get off the screen, you fat blob. I just let you out two seconds ago. You can’t want in already.” I stop everything I’m doing and let her in.

Alas, the act of writing will remain un-machinima-ed.

So, do you mind when people read your stuff while you’re writing?

PS – please leave a comment, but I might not be able to read it right away.

I’ll be in Puerto Rico on a wild writing adventure when this goes live.



Debbie Kaufman said...

I mind. Definitely. Not with my critique partner though because we both understand the process. But with others, let me polish first please! BTW, with this weather, Puerto Rico sounds really good!

Michelle said...

Anna - this was hysterically good fun to read.

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for the laughs. Actually there was a movie about a writer that involved guns, etc. (Romancing the Stone).

I would love it if my husband would read my writing but he says he won't read it until it gets published. I don't know if I should take that to mean he believes I'll be published or as a cop out because he doesn't want to read it. I've shown my writing to friends at different stages but only after it's polished.

Have fun in Puerto Rico. Hopefully it's a lot warmer than it is in Miami (and Atlanta). I'm ready for this cold spell to be over!


Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Anna,
No, I don't mind people reading while I write. In fact, in the morning when hubby joins me for coffee in the office, I sometimes read him a page or two just to get his "take". He overlooks the unpolished state since he understands about edits and rewriting, etc.


Sally Kilpatrick said...

Anna--you have seriously cracked me up with this post. This is not crap, this is imginative and well written.

As for letting others read what I've written? I'm not a big fan, but I had to get over that when I started taking workshop classes. Now, I'm more likely to pass it over and see what the other person thinks.

Susan May said...

Yeah, I mind. I like to have polished it at least 8 to 10 times, and still I'm nervous. I'm not a good writer off the hip. To say I have the bones of it the first time around would be an understandment.

Darcy Crowder said...

Anna, that was too funny!

And no, I don't like anyone to read over my shoulder, I've got to polish some before I share - but I don't mind good feedback.

Maxine Davis said...


You are a hoot! And you have a fabulous imagination!

No, I don't like people reading my laptop. I am getting better about people reading the draft - critiques and all that.

I can just see you in Puerto Rico.
Have one for me!

Tami Brothers said...

Hi Anna! I love reading your blogs. I can only imagine what goes on in your head. And, you so made this stand out for me. My husband asked me once what I was thinking (I apparently had this strange look on my face). I proceeded to give him this long, detailed explanation of about 15 different topics that totally had nothing to do with each other but showed the natural progression of my brain waves when I saw a lady wearing a really cool purple dress and it led me to a point where I remembered that I hadn’t told him the windshield washer fluid was low in my car. I said that all happened in about a 5 second period. He just looked at me and shook his head.

I can only imagine how exhausting it would be if my thoughts could be translated into a video game. Of course, then maybe my son would listen to me more…grin…

Regarding people reading my stuff, HATE it!!!! That’s why I love the Alphasmart. They can’t see it on there! Have fun in Puerto Rico!!!!


Ana Aragón said...


Hilarious! You are too funny.

I don't like for people to read over my shoulder or to try to take a peek at the screen. That's a big no-no. But I don't mind sharing my work with others. In fact, I like to entertain my family with little nuggets of prose now and then. Especially stuff I find funny (to make sure it's funny to someone else...!)

Have fun in PR...I love Puerto Rico! Have one on me...


Linsey Lanier said...

Funny, funny post, Anna! I think a video game about writers would be pretty cool. At least, your first version of it. Love the upholstery job. I did a set of swivel chairs once, when we we're first married. I can attest that once is enough for recovering furniture.

Who doesn't mind when someone reads your stuff while you're writing it? You mean like over-the-shoulder? That's when the typos start flying, LOL. Before it's polished? Well, since I tend to regurgitate on the page in the early stages, it's not too understandable. :) I like to polish before I let people see anything. Probably too much.

Tami B - purple dress, purple windshield washer fluid. Makes sense to me.

Puerto Rico, huh? Do they have good Internet service there?


Cyrano said...

Anna, Anna,
Haven't I always said I LUVVVV your posts!!!
I learned a new word today...Machinima. WTF! Ya learn something every day don't you? I'm gonna look that one up.
And are you really in Puerto Rico? Lucky duck. I've never been out of the country. I really need to get out.
I liked your "In Anna's head". Very creative. You should have your own Machinima babe. And I also really liked the kitty at the screen. Like you, I'm a slave to cats. In...Out...In...Out. Those felines need to make up their damn minds.
Now in answer to you question, yes...I like when people read my stuff. My critique partners that is. If people look over my shoulder I get a bit red faced. Especially since lately I write stuff like, lick his...and suck her...

Loved the post Anna!!!
Always look forward to them.
Have a great time abroad.

Dianna Love said...

Anna -
Fun post. I don't like people reading my pages on a laptop over my shoulder on an airplane so I have a privacy screen when I travel.

But I do read pages along the way to my husband to get a feel for parts of the story or a character. Reading out loud helps me determine if a section of text is weighted too heavily or if dialogue reads unnaturally and is the easiest way for me to catch errors. He's happy to read my stories, but I generally read the full to him when it's done.