Category Archives: Will Hindmarch

Guest Blog by Will Hindmarch: Flow

Will Hindmarch is a writer, designer, and mooncalf. You can find some of his stories for sale online at Amazon, DriveThruFiction, and other sites. Long ago, in ages past, he wrote things at wordstudio.net.

(Update: Looking back, I feel sort of silly sharing this. To be clear, I don’t think my changing relationship with video games is due to the games or gamers—not really. I’m just musing here, wondering why it is that I can’t dive into games like I used to. I still don’t know what’s up there. So it goes.)

Listen, can I confess something to you? Lately I’ve been having some trouble with video games.

I’m super excited to play some of the games on my to-play list but I don’t know when I’m supposed to do that. The impulse that used to signal me to play video games often gets met by different pastimes right now—for me, at least. By the end of my day, when I might otherwise power up my console, I find myself torn.

  • Music: “The Last Man,” from The Fountain, music by Clint Mansell

It’s a multifaceted problem. For comparison’s sake, consider how I operate at my desk. When I’m there, I’m almost always doing two things at once, whether I’m working or not.

When I’m working on something largely visual, like the layout for a book, I listen to podcasts at the same time. I listen to Wil and friends talk gaming with Gabe Newell and Co. at Valve. I listen to writers talk shop on the Nerdist Writer’s Panel. I listen to Ken Hite and Robin D. Laws talk about stuff. I get to take in know-how and stories at the same time I get to create things. I like that.

When I’m writing, I put on music. I get to absorb music and generate prose at the same time. This helps me escape my environment a little bit and put myself into a headspace that’s a few mental clicks away from the pressures of the blank page.

I often devise a playlist for the project I’m working on. For example, while writing “A Desert is Implicit,” I listened to a playlist I called “Future Desert,” populated with things like the soundtracks from Halo: ODST, Journey, Caprica, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Other playlists, like “Futuristic Operatic,” “Mission Driven,” and “Epic Fantastic” get played for a variety of projects that sort of sync up thematically.

  • Music: “Goodbye Renegade” from Tron: Uprising, music by Joseph Trapanese

These sorts of support structures aren’t necessary, though; they’re luxuries. They give me a chance to do two things once and get more day out of my day. They help work feel more like play.

I say this because it’s important, in my experience, to be able to write without rituals. I don’t need music to write. One way I know the work’s going well is when a playlist runs out and I discover I’ve been writing in silence for an hour. That’s flow.

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Guest Blog by Will Hindmarch: Tabletop’s Dragon Age, Part Two!

Will Hindmarch was one of the guys next to the guy who did the thing. No, to the other side. Yeah, that guy. Will used to blog at wordstudio.net.

I imagine Wil would want you to know, as I want you to know, that the new episode of Tabletop—featuring the exciting conclusion of the two-part star-studded Dragon Age adventure—is now live online and you can watch it online because it is live online right now, online, here.

Go and watch and subscribe to the channel and if you like the video click Like, like you do. Okay? Okay.

Guest Post by Will Hindmarch: Fireworks Outside

Will Hindmarch is a freelance writer and designer who co-produces the occasional off-shoot event with Story Club Chicago. (New South Side shows are coming this spring!) It’s possible he drank the last of the almond milk.

(Now and again, I plug into Chicago’s rich and varied live lit scene. Watching people tell their stories live—and trying to tell my own—has taught me a lot about story construction, audience dynamics, and how to let people into your work. The following is the first thing I ever read at one of these events. I read it at Dana Norris’s amazing Story Club series in Chicago. Though I’d read in front of audiences before—on stage, in bookshops and auditoriums, on the radio—the experience with the audience there was a delight. If you can find storytelling events in your town, maybe give them a shot as audience or reader.)

(You can also hear me read a variation of this piece on Installment 4 of the Broad Shoulders podcast, for grown-ups.)

In summertime, the sky above my neighborhood gets loud. Explosions live there. They set off car alarms. Sometimes the echoes of the explosions get drowned out by cheers or laughter, sometimes by what sounds like panic. Most of the time, they’re followed by silence. From my desk, I hear the blasts whistle and pop, crackle and boom.

I’m inside, at my computer, making a big deal out of stuff someone wrote on an Internet forum or on Google+ or wherever. I fret and fidget and dwell and obsess. I mistake forum posts for, pardon me, actual writing. I sometimes spend time trying to get the language and nuance of a forum post just right, to reward a deep reading for context and subtext and what I didn’t say in addition to what I did say. I craft tweets to work in series, to counterbalance doldrums with guffaws, to modulate the ups and downs to convey the ongoing arc of the character I portray online. I open the browser like it was a leather case and I fiddle. It’s like busking, except I tweet out in the hopes that others will send tweets back. I tweet for tweets and wonder why my novel’s not finished.

And my modem keeps cutting out, like it’s trying to spare me from something, like it’s trying to hide a newspaper from me at the breakfast table. For a few days, I dreaded what was happening on the Internet without me. What gags and dramas passed by? What glimpses into other people’s lives? Was I falling out of the conversation, falling behind the discourse?

Outside, a firework booms.

Fireworks are both grand and nerve-wracking for me. I like my fingers. I want to keep my fingers. Yet I don’t think too hard about the explosions going off outside my building. They zoom and pop and light up the night for a second—just a second—and then they’re gone. I think of them as atmosphere.

But I’m sitting at my desk, facing the Internet, when another big boom rattles the joint and knocks a thought off a shelf in my head.

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Guest Blog by Will Hindmarch: The First RPG

Will Hindmarch is a freelance writer, game developer, and graphic designer.

Listen, I know you’re busy, but let’s talk about how you can help me out.

Some of you, maybe a lot of you, play roleplaying games like Wil and I do. Maybe you’ve just recently given them a shot after seeing things like Dragon Age or Fiasco featured on Tabletop. (You’ve seen those episodes, right?) Maybe you’ve been playing for years and the first RPG you started with has faded into legend.

Either way, I want to axe you two questions:

  1. What was your introduction to roleplaying games?
  2. What do you want in an introductory RPG today?

If you think these questions don’t apply to you, please reconsider. Don’t play RPGs (yet)? How did you first hear about them? What would you want an RPG to be to get you to give it a shot—faster, cheaper, more or less digital, more or less random?

I want to be smarter. Give me your knowledge.

 

Guest Blog by Will Hindmarch: Some of My Favorite Wi(l)ls

Will Hindmarch is a writer, game developer, and graphic designer whose work has appeared in the likes of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.

Some of my favorite Wi(l)ls are the Wils Wheaton. Those Wils are great. Wil the Actor, Wil the Podcaster, Wil the Host, there’s a whole slew of them out there, working hard. You know them. You dig them, same as me. One of my favorite Wils Wheaton, though, is Wil the Writer.

I’ve dabbled in acting and radio just enough to know they’re tough—enough to know I enjoy them more than I am good at them. So I can look at those Wils as an audience member with just a fine fiber of appreciation for why the work is difficult, even though I mostly don’t know what I’m talking about. I admire those Wils the way I admire a lot of my friends with jobs I cannot do well, by being grateful that other people are better at stuff than I am so that stuff can get done.

But Wil the Writer? I make my living as a writer, so I know the racket territory. I come to Wil’s writing with the appreciation of the cobbler from across the way. I picked up Wil’s books and blog posts and admired their craftsmanship, from the stitching to the gloss, and I instinctively wanted to take them apart to see how they worked.

Here’s what I wanted to recreate: Wil’s capacity for sentimentality without syrupy additives. What the hell does that mean? It means Wil writes frankly about the feels without being being all cloying about it.

Sometimes he dances (barefoot) right at the edge of Sugarsville, but he knows what’s sweet and what’s too sweet and he’s got a honed knack for staying on this side of the saccharine line. He writes honestly. He finds the moments. That ain’t easy.

In 2008, Wil and I were both writing flash fiction at a website called Ficlets. The gist of the site was that you composed little bits of fiction within a limited character count and posted them where others could write prequels or sequels to them, turning any piece of flash prose into this potentially branching, sprawling narrative. (That site eventually burned down, but they built Ficly on the old lot. I wrote a few things at the new site, too.) I don’t know if Wil wants me posting stuff he wrote back when, but let’s see what happens. At the end of January of 2008, Wil wrote this passage of fiction called “A Godawful Small Affair:”

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I’m on a boat: Welcome your guest bloggers!

I’m on a boat! Or, maybe I’m on my way to being on a boat, or I have recently gotten off a boat, or I suppose I was on a boat at sometime in the past. (Boy, covering all the timelines is a lot of work, you guys. I see the benefits of just leaving things in a superposition… or, at least, I think about seeing them. I don’t want to observe them and ruin a perfectly good superposition.)

So.

Last year, while I was on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2: Cruise Harder, I programmed something from my archives to publish once a day. You know, for kids. Well, this year, I didn’t have the time to search for and curate posts, so I’m doing something a little different: I invited some of my friends to take over my blog while I’m gone. They’ve been instructed to post whatever they want as frequently or infrequently as they want, and I’d like to introduce you to them now.

Meet Will Hindmarch. Will is a writer, graphic artist, game designer, and better at all of these things than he gives himself credit for. If you’ve ever played a game from White Wolf, you’ve probably played something Will put his filthy hands all over. If you’ve played the Fiasco playset we played on Tabletop, you’ve played something that Will and I wrote together. If you’ve read Memories of the Future Volume 1, you’ve seen a cover that Will designed. He blogs at wordstudio.net and is @wordwill on the twitters.

Meet Shane Nickerson. I’ve known Shane for mumblecough years, ever since we did shows together at the ACME Comedy Theater. Shane is the executive producer of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness. Shane is one of the funniest people I know, and that’s saying something. He’s also an incredible father to three kids, never uses Comic Sans, and has paid me off exactly the right number of times in poker games. Shane blogs at nickerblog.com and is @ShaneNickerson on the twitters.

Meet Stepto. Stepto is probably best known as the leader of The Steptos, and as the former banhammer at Xbox Live. Stepto is a wonderful, thoughtful writer, and once pulled a man’s finger in Reno just to watch him fart. He’s the author of A Microsoft Life, and just released a comedy album called A Geekster’s Paradise. He blogs at stepto.com and is @stepto on the Steptos.

Please welcome this team of talented, funny, smart, and interesting people to WWdN, and make them feel at home. I’ll expect a full report when I get home from my trip, and don’t even try to replace the fish if they die. I’ll know.