Advice For Aspiring Writers

There are times when other writers ask me for advice and sometimes I’m stumped for an answer- after all, I’ve had a pretty weird career so far, and I wouldn’t recommend any of them pattern theirs after mine. But a friend of mine posted this video today:

And it turns out that I DO have a few pieces of advice for aspiring online writers. And it is this:

Don’t work for free.

Don’t work for ALMOST free. ($10 a post is NOT good pay!)

Don’t work for “exposure”. (Pfft.)

Don’t work for profit shares or ad-bucks.

Work for MONEY.

It’s not about being greedy, it’s about having standards. There are sites out there that legitimately pay their writers a proper amount- usually the same sites that can give you actual exposure (Like CRACKED). Aim high. Don’t write crap. If you’re working for a publication that doesn’t notice or doesn’t care how many spelling and grammatical errors you have, then it’s safe to say you’re not going to learn much, and you probably shouldn’t put it on your resume.

And most importantly- don’t give up looking for a good writing gig. They exist. Remember: the professional writer is really just the amateur that didn’t quit.

Board/Card/Dice Game Apps

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret- I’m a person that struggles daily with anxiety, and a sort of high-strung self-awareness. So I’m not good at learning board games or card games while in the company of many people. As a matter fact, I kind of suck at it. My brain just starts drawing a blank.

But recently I downloaded the Zombie Dice app, which is a digital version of a real dice game, and hit upon the idea that I could enjoy these games independently before playing them with other people. So I fervently searched for other geeky physical games that had made the jump to digital. And boy, there are a lot of them.

There are so many that Board Game Geek has an ongoing list of them.

There are many on that list that I either don’t recognize, or don’t give a crap about, but here are a few of the more obscure ones that intrigued me:

  • Zombie in My Pocket – $1.99 – I already own the physical version of this (which is free), but I’ve often forgotten I have it.
  • Button Men – $.99 – I picked up a couple of the buttons years ago at a con, but I never really learned the game. Mainly I just bought the app to support Cheapass Games making more apps. Plus, I’m a big James Ernest fan. I want a “Kill Doctor Lucky” app!
  • Mancala – An ancient game. Always wanted to try it.
  • Hive – $1.99 – I’ve seen it in stores, and now I can try before I buy.
  • Munchkin Level Counter – $4.99 – So Steve Jackson thinks he can charge $4.99 for a simple level counter app, and people will buy it, eh? Well, he’s right! I hate you, Steve Jackson.

Apps I’d Personally Like to See:

No Dice

I found this completely by chance.

The colored blocks game isn’t new, but this is the first time I’ve seen it with dice.

The first summer I worked at the library, we found the colored blocks game on the computer in the employee “lounge”. First my boyfriend and I got addicted to it, then we got my friend Chris addicted to it, then Chris proceeded to get the rest of my roommates addicted to it. Then we quickly pissed away every free hour we had playing it for like two months. It was brutal. We couldn’t look at two things of the same color together without expecting them to disappear.

Well here it is again, with the added bonus that you get the value of the die faces. Another aspect of the game to taunt me:
http://www.spraguedesign.com/dice/

And while I’m on the subject, there’s a free app version of Steve Jackson’s Zombie Dice.

Apps I’ve tried lately

Puzzle Agent – Telltale Games’ puzzle mystery is exactly what it sounds like- a puzzle mystery. Far from being dense story material, the art and sound provide a beautifully macabre ambiance for this brain-bending iPhone game. I was surprised to find that the puzzles range from abstract to straight up traditional logic puzzles.  In some cases, I had to get a pencil and paper. In other cases, I had to use the in-game hints. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far.

Deadly Allusions – Ever played a 2-minute mystery? Allusions is collection of 30-second mysteries that pretty much always require you to have a search engine handy (there’s a link to Google in-game). A short description of each crime scene hides clues to the culprit in names and set-ups. It’s not as easy as it looks. But it’s damn fun.

Godville – It’s a little hard to describe this one. You create a hero. Your hero goes forth and completes quests and collects loot in your honor.  You occasionally intervene, influence and resurrect. Beyond that, I’ve yet to figure out how it works. Whatever it does, I think it’s currently doing it right now…