Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hexland Writing Test

Hi there Friends & Foes 
(with a Special Shoutout to the Silent Indifferent Majority):

Welcome to this first
Hexland Writing Test
(APN english alpha 1.0)

Here are some fragments to tickle your fancy:

As the Annoyingly Present Narrator I will start this text by a general provocation (to whom it might concern - you know who you are) stating that there are so many dull voices and boring narratives out there! This is mostly media independent, both movies and novels can be just as predictable as the Dota- genre (really the Sitcom of video gaming!), the turn based strategy games or most super hero comic book character arcs etc. 

Thats why I really like (and practice) the new multi media genre of the Jigsaw Story Puzzlers (JSP)! 
You haven’t heard about this phenomenon yet? 
Well, let me enlighten you. 

According to the fictional wikipedia entry a Jigsaw Story Puzzler is a form of storytelling that requires the mental assembly of, often oddly formatted, interlocking and tessellating pieces. Each piece usually has a small part of a story in it - and when all the different pieces are put together, a JSP produces a complete story.
The JSPs are often made by pieces from many different medias, ranging from poems, short stories, comics, illustrations and even game mechanics, so called fluff and flavor text. 

Compared to most standard commercial genre narratives, the JSPs can be time consuming and challenging for the audience to decipher, but - in my opinion - much more fulfilling.  

3 pieces of the Hexland JPS:

«The Circle of Death»  
A scripted for visual media study of the Rock, Paper, Scissors Dialectics of The Assassins Breed.

«It moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our resting place
On the path unwinding
For eternety
In the Grand Circle
The Circle of Death».

(Poem by Tom Grain).

Piece 1:  Thesis.
«Custom Death by Desmond Clearwater»

Its a fast paced action thriller!
Some of the scenes are almost like written for the cinema adaption - the spontaneous ordered line for option offers starts way over there, just keep on walking, you will know when you are there.

The dust cover bullet point pitch reads:
«The story of: Desmond Clearwater 
- Businessman of Death.
- Master of Murder.
- Pan Continental Badass.
- The Greatest Assassin on the Hexlandian Continent».

(Rated PG-13, comedy splatter violence) 

In the character introduction you will in a voyeuristic fashion overhear some generic villain´s generic henchmen chat about the local sports team while cruely torturing some chained up anon victim to a certain death. 
Just in time to save the day, our Legendary robed Lead Character, Desmond Clearwater, parkours into the scene seemingly from out of nowhere and kills all the henchmen but one. 

With sparkling eyes and a charming smile he suggests that the last henchman standing should run back to his Supervisor with the following short message (which is also his well rehearsed Assassins Catch Phrase): 
«You´re next on the list»
before handing the henchman a off white, soft and richly textured premium cotton business card, with the acronym CDDC in blood red ink on one side - and Desmond´s contact information on the other side. 
The anon victim starts franticly praising Desmond for saving his life, where upon Desmond gives a bored shrug and a little speech:

«Do I know you? 
Who do you think you are? 
So you really think all this was about you? 
Whoever you are, I´m just here on behalf of someone influential, to deliver a strong message to somebody of importance.
You being here is just a coincidence, and non of my business.
Have a good day, Sir».

- before parkouring back into nowhere, leaving the speechless anon victim in his chains and the thoroughly frightened henchman to cary on his business.

How is that for a cinematic start?
As you can tell from this character intro, Desmond is a real Badass, all about the mission - and not in any way a pathetic philanthropic do-gooder vigilante.
But he does this with such a warm and cheeky humor, one can’t help but find this antihero awesome.   

The opening scene ends with a close up of the anon victims fear ridden face  - 
crosscutting into a close up of the fear ridden face of the generic henchmans supervisor when he is delivered the message from DC. 

From here one could elaborate how deadly and dangerous DC is by describing in detail a few of his mission, but this quickly gets repetitive. Here is the summary: 
He is, by esoteric channels, contacted by assorted businesses and individuals, given a target witch he subsequently brutally kills in some spectacular and creative way (but always delivering some form of variation of his Assassins Catch Phrase first), before returning to his hideout to collect his reward. 
It doesn’t (or shouldn’t) take long before the message of him being the apex assassin of the Hexlandian Continent is delivered.
If you are not content with this, repeat the intro (with minor variations) to make a montage for the theatre of the mind. 

But I digress.
One could, or rather should, also dig into Desmond´s psyche and motivations - slowly convey his loneliness, his dreams of simple family life, settling down and a more mundane lifestyle….
And why not explore the side effects of his career choice while we are at it? The making of a lot of enemies and how he slowly gets entangled in a web of previous targets close family and friends who lust for revenge…
But by now the smartest of the target audience already know that it is not long before Desmond himself becomes the target, and eventually the victim of the successor of the title of «The Greatest Assassin on the Hexlandian Continent».
Wich leads up to: 

Piece 2: Antithesis.
«A Martha of Life and Death».

Well, what do you know… Its another fast paced action thriller!
Just like the previous fragmented piece, this one also offers scenes that are almost like written for the visual media adaption - you know the drill, sharks, the line for option offers starts somewhere over there. 

The dust cover bullet point pitch reads:
«The story of: Martha Kiri 
- Exotic and Fatal
- Beautiful and Deadly.
- Pan Continental Femme Fatal.
- The Greatest Assassin on the Hexlandian Continent».

(Rated NC-17, nudity, sexual content)

In the character introduction Martha is presented in a montage compiled of over a dozen short money shot murders by sexy asphyxiation. 
This brief introduction should do well in presenting her both as a drop dead gorgeous and sensual seductress and as a precise, cold blooded and ruthless killer. 

Following this quite naughty character intro a longer sequense where a beautiful girl being singled out in some costly crowd scene, and then hit upon by your typical dime a dozen douche player, all in first person shooter view. 
At first the woman seems like your average run of the mill pin up girl, really easy and out going (as in «she is just asking for it») and after a brief chat up the game is on - and there is no need to go into further detail here - we all know what this leads up to so lets save the cheese for later. 

And then there is another money shot, where the Player realizes that something is wrong, as he feels her noose tightening around his neck, and - like all her other enthralled victims - he spends his last breathing seconds realizing just how she have played around with him in her deadly game. 

As his life is ebbing out she leans over close and whispers (ear to ear, with that real ASMR quality to her voice - by this point, the player can only really focus on her sexy and tumescent lips) her Assassin Catch Phraser:

«I had hopes for you, but you turned out to be just as easy as all the other males» 

before kissing him gently on the forehead and closing his eyelids.

As the final part of her sensual death ritual she makes a new entry in her red mole skin notebook, rating her latest victims performance on key aspects like pick up line, charm, personality, intellect, physical beauty and physical strength, as a sex partner and as a victim. The entry takes up one line, and the most alert might notice that she has filled about 1/3 of the pages in the note book. As the camera pans back we (for the first time this sequence) see the victims face - and the really clever of you already know it is Desmond Clearwater from part one. 

From here one could further elaborate how charming and cut throat Martha is by depicting a few more of her other mission, but the formula is mostly similar to the previous: She is contacted through different male handlers, by assorted businesses and individuals, given a target witch she subsequently seduces and kills, before collecting yet another reward. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t) take long before the message of her being the new apex assassin of the Hexlandian Continent is delivered.

Moving on, its only common curtesy to also dig a little into her psyche and motivations - slowly uncovering that she is indifferent to life and love, and that her only real emotion is lust for power and influence. The target audience is slowly spoon fed how she also plays her handlers, mimicking feelings and faking relationship attempts with them, and secretly making notes in her red notebook (thus inverted, with entries starting from the opposite end) where she is rating her handlers different performances, such as influence, insight, endurance and wealth, for later use against them as leverage when needed. 

In what we could call her prime the target audience is shown how she is using blackmail, love and sex to lure her handlers and customers into giving her targets that fits into her own plans - and in that way indirectly choosing her own adventure.  

Sadly, we all know that her games and winning streak cant last for ever, and that eventually she herself becomes a target, and in the end the victim of the next in line for the title of «The Greatest Assassin on the Hexlandian Continent». 

Which naturally leads up to:

Piece 3: Synthesis.
«Death Cult for Cutie».

Its yet another fast paced action thriller!
Like the last fragment, this one also offers scenes that are almost like written for Wide Screen Adaption - and yeah, you know the drill…
 The dust cover bullet point pitch reads:
«The story of: Keynin Bonzo»  
- Death Cultist.
- Mysterious Mass Murderer on Tour.
- Pan Continental Serial Killer.
- The Greatest Assassin on the Hexlandian Continent».

(Rated NSFW - violence, nudity, sexual paraphilia) 

In the character introduction Keynin is presented through some kind of disturbing dark ritual where he is surgically removing body parts from an anonymous victim placing them in a portable cooler briefcase.
This brief introduction should be sufficient to portray him as a emotionally detached, devious, deranged and as a (pun intended) complete basket case.

Cut to montage where images of Keynin traveling the Hexlandian countryside by express rail, local rail, tram, ox cart and bicycle is inserted over «The Big Picture Map» with an animation showing his travel route as a red line zig zagging the continent. Included in the montage there are also short flashes of murders, removing of body parts and the handing over of different sized traveling cooler briefcases to other sinister looking Death Cultists.

Cut to short silent scene from some un named Hex Investigators office with «The Big Picture World Map» on the wall, with several dozens of colored pins marking locations where remains of his victims are found - the investigator is shown in silhouette against the map - as if taking a step back, trying to find some form of pattern. Because who doesn’t like a little foreshadowing, right?

Anyways, cut back to a short revisitation to the travel montage which slowly fades to black.

Handler: «Next we need a torso, preferably a strong and healthy male».
Keynin: «Is it just me, or is He degrading more rapidly than before?»
Handler: «He is alright. We just need a new frame. All the internal organs are doing fine».
Keynin: «But stil, its only a few seasons since last time I harvested a new frame».
Handler: «Under normal conditions it would have lasted much longer, keep in mind we have had a lot of heat lately, and He has been moved several times. You know how much strain that puts on his chassis».
Keynin: «Yeah…»
Handler: «Do i have to remind you to keep a low profile? The more flashy you get, the more heat we attract. Remember, this is not about you, its all about Him».
Keynin: «But brother…»
Handler: «We all admire and appreciate your fine work, but the elders are talking about you becoming a liability. I tell you this as a friend: Keep it simple. Dont get ideas of grandeur. I dont want anything happening to you, brother».
Keynin: «Thank you for being frank. Safe travel on your path to Death».

Cut to yet another disturbing dark ritual where he is surgically removing body parts from an anonymous victim placing them in a portable cooler briefcase, but before leaving the scene, he carves a strange mark into the skin of the remains.

Cut to crowded cantina where Keynin is approached by a beautiful woman while eating his waffled sausage and eventually becoming engaged in flirtatious conversation. The smartest of you already must have figured this is Martha on a mission to rid the Death Cult of their top agent turned liability. The only two details in this pick up scheme worth noting is that firstly, Keynin initially doesn’t seem interested at all, and it takes a lot of hard work before she manages to convince him to follow her to her hotel room… And secondly he insists buying her a drink before they leave - he even (quite gallant and out of character) walks over to the bar to order, smiling wide when he returns carrying the two cocktails. The scene ends with them toasting while staring deep into each others eyes. 

Cut to hotel room with the lights dimmed. We all recognize the set up for Marthas Money Shot Ritual, but (very out of character) she seems a bit unfocused, slightly slurs her words as the paralysis of the poison starts kicking in. As he checks her pulse to make sure she is dead we notice his hands are slightly trembling and he is licking his lips as he starts to undress her corpse. The scene ends alarmingly with Keynin starting to open his belt, unbuttoning his pants.

Another assassin claims the title as the greatest, but by now you all should know that he will only hold it temporary. 
Sooner or later he will also be dethroned by someone playing the game better than him, or as in this case, plays an entirely different game.
And there you have it. 
With the image of Keynin getting ready echoing in your mind, we can wrap up this communication.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

World in Progress. Musings from Hexland.

Disclaimer: If you are here for the epic WIP pics, scroll down to the end of this entry where I have included a couple for you to ponder over.
As shown in the previous blog entry the walls of my apartment are at the moment filled with sketched maps. Since the last entry I have started inking one of them, the «Big Picture World Map» (Format: A1 or 4x A3).

During this tedious labour I have been revisited by some thoughts that haunted me some 7 years ago when I was inking the first Big Picture WorldMap. These troubeling thoughts where put into words and published (in beautiful Norwegian) as the very first entries on this blog (#1, #2 & #3).

They where written as 3 eccentric thounge in cheek Big Beat Poems of Genesis (representing the jilted generation!) and, in their own way, served as an introduction to this project/blog.

Since all you international readers dropped into this work in medias res I have made some sort of translation (where a lot is lost, but also with something gained). So mostly the same shit, in a new language.

Lets just call them:
"Revisitations 1 – 3".
#1 «Challenges». 

Sometimes I wish I was easy.
Then I could be content making short, 
thrilling and dramatic stories
- in a handy format,
easy to package,
and sell.

But I´m not,
and there is nowhere to shift the blame.

Here are my simple (or some samples of my) problems.
Everything is interconnected.

Call it magik or call it science,
thats just the way it is.

Every descision I make 
gives me new possibilities 
and directions,
but at the same time
gives me new restrictions 
and dead ends.

Every detail I define or specify,
creates a wealth of similar details
- that also can, should or must be defined or specified.

Every category I make for sorting purposes
instantly produces opposing categories
– and immense potencial for sub- categorization.
As long as you have
one could always divide
Something into two...
It is never ending, and quite magnificent!

So in stead of just telling all
these compelling stories i carry within,
I let myself entangle
in this alluring web of details.
This blog is a way of communicating 
the beauty of this
personal tragedy.

#2 «Themes».
From scratch everything was chaos.
A swirling pandemonium of ideas.
As the creator of this mess
it was my job to make things orderly around here.

In the beginning
I indiscriminately picked out single concepts
from the myriad of ideas
and scribled them down on pieces of paper
with the notion that any of them could be
just as good or important as the others.

Once isolated and noted down,
I felt that each idea
was brought under some kind of controll,
but as my random notes started stacking up,
I gradually started loosing controll again.
There was no way gettimng around the fact
that I could not create
order out of chaos
without some kind of system...

There you are;
In a clever meta way
the world building
had isolated and defined
the main themes of this work:
and all the attempts of System
in between the two polarities.

#3 «Tools».

Wast amounts of information is floating through my imagination.
The current of the stream of conscience is so strong trying to put it all into written or spoken words is an impossible task.

But there are more tools in my kit...

Black lines
made by me
splits and divides the canvas.

The blanks are
filled in
with firm strokes of the brush.

Decision after decision
opens up and closes
faster than graspable.

A continent takes form
out of the nothingness
and past the point of no return.

I clearly started all off this, by drawing the first line...

but now, past genesis, the world seems to have taken upon a life of its own, and I feel more and more as a mere medium – a bound agent of reductionism.

The pics:

This first image is just a proof of progress.

It is tedious and challenging work - but in a fun way. There is stil a lot of inking left to be done, but I think its about 2/3 finished at this point. The digitalization and coloring will be a nightmare on this one...

Partially inked "The Big Picture World Map".
(Format: A1 or 4xA3 / Scale: 1cm = 50km).

This second image is just a teaser from a test project (prep work). I have been experimenting with other ways of doing the small scale modular maps.

Inspired by the scale and style of Advanced Squad Leader i have made a small batch of these, these two pages are the only ones inked so far.

Inked "The ASL Test Maps".
(Format: 2xA4 / Scale: 1hex = 50m).