Monday, February 7, 2011

Ben can now feel strength and renewal flowing through him

There's a level in King's Quest V where King Graham is wandering the desert, discovering magic temples and messing around in bandit camps. Regardless of whether or not Graham manages to snatch the genie's lamp or the dead man's boot, the sun is hot and will kill Graham if he doesn't find water - meaning that the player (or, at least, the player who played the game before all the walkthroughs were written) is stuck mapping out each section of the desert on a piece of paper or in some kind of spreadsheet. The first few times you try to run that desert, though, fate is inexorable: Graham will fail to find an oasis in time, and he shall perish at the whim of the merciless sun. (And the vultures. Always with the vultures.)

You know those bandits got all the booty.
If you've read this blog a few times, you might know that I am fond of taking things that are not really related to writing, and obfuscating their true nature in such a manner as to make it seem that the phenomenon in question was a Writing-Metaphor-Waiting-to-Be-Discovered-by-A-Brilliant-Mind-Like-Mine all along. Thusly, I am analogizing King Graham's hunt for water to my own hunt for inspiration and motivation in the Writer's Quest. Sometimes, you die of thirst; but after you reload the game a few times, you've got it mapped out so hard that you wander out into the desert in random directions and threaten yourself with heatstroke just to make it a little more exciting.

Sometimes, I struggle to produce a story that I really love. The vultures, in short, get me. But there are times when there is literally no stopping the flow of water: the nectar of the gods is literally pouring all over you. You might even want to throw your hands to the sky and say, "Stop, gods! That's enough nectar. I don't need any more of your filthy nectar. I have enough." And that is the case with me presently. This past week, I've been killing this new novel I'm writing. I mean, it is so dead, which really means it is living and thriving within me (due, again, to an overabundance of divine nectar). I've pounded out about 15,000 words, roughly the last four chapters, and the future is bright. Although I already know that this isn't going to be some kind of masterpiece, I'm certain of something: this novel will see fruition. It will be chopped into synopses and fifty-page samples, and it will be fired off to literary agents and editors alike. King Graham will rescue his family from the evil sorcerer and we can all go play King's Quest VI when it comes out on CD.

All this is to say that I might not be blogging quite as much the next few weeks. I'll be wandering around the desert from oasis to oasis instead. This blog is, as it were, like the dead man's boot: yes, you can hurl it at the cat later to save the mouse, and the mouse will gnaw the chains that bind you in the tavern's cellar; but you may also hurl the stick at the cat, and the same effects will ensue.

...although, there's something about the boot and the stick I forget. Oh, right, that's it: you're supposed to save the boot and give it to the cobbler. Is that right? Oh, man, this metaphor is going down the tubes...

BONUS POINTS: Make a King's Quest V reference in your comments for my respect and admiration!

REQUEST FOR FRIENDLY ADVICE: Did that metaphor get a little too... you know... weird at the end?



  1. Two favorite death phrases from the narrator:

    "Down, down goes Graham. To the bottom of the sea."

    "Thanks for playing King's Quest 5!" <- WTF? Fourth wall much?

    VI was, in my opinion, the best in the series, but V-VII were all exceptionally solid. Torin's Passage, a game that came out around the time of VII (when everything was "animated" thanks to the advent of the cd-rom) was also quite good.

    Oh yeah, if you "talk" to the guy in the tent in the above scene (when you are supposed to be sneaking and stealing the staff), Graham just says, out loud, "Thanks again for all your help!"
    Then the dude wakes up and stabs you as you just stand there.
    I really liked that death, heh.

  2. That death was so brutal. The music was really dramatic, too.