A few recreational writing ideas

Between getting up early for my counseling appointment on campus and working until midnight, Thursday was a long day. I slept for 9 hours yesterday morning, which meant I woke up around 11:15 and didn’t get out of bed until about noon. After making chili in a slow cooker and getting dressed to leave the apartment, I went to the grocery store in the early afternoon and bought, among other things, 3 bottles of wine (which is 2 more than I’d usually buy at one time, but there was a 2 bottles for $7 sale on some dessert wine that looked intriguing). At one point I was wondering about starting a wine review blog, and then I more or less immediately dismissed the idea because, among other things, I feel like I lack the proper equipment (proper serving glasses, proper storage facilities, etc.) and I either have a high alcohol tolerance (being of English/German/Welsh/Irish descent and a male human) or I rarely drink in large enough quantities to get drunk.

Anyway, I tried Space Engineers this afternoon (Minecraft IN SPACE! is fun, until you neglect to consider gravity/physics), and I re-visited Europa Universalis 4 (a game made by the same company that made Crusader Kings 2 covering the years 1444-1820). Specifically, a game I have going in a mod where the American and Mexican states, and Canadian and Australian provinces, somehow wound up in 1444. As of this writing I’ve reached 1465, and Missouri has lost Kansas City and St. Louis (and most of its former territory north of the Missouri River) to Iowa as result of a war in which Iowa invaded Nebraska and Missouri came to the aid of its ally Nebraska.

At some point, this reminded me of previous ideas I had for writing something involving this mod, and more generally something set in the timeframe covered by Europa Universalis (1444-1820) as opposed to Crusader Kings (769-1453). I’ve have yet to get very far in a game of Europa Universalis, but that time frame sees the cutting edge of European military technology go from pikes and crossbows (or longbows) to flintlock muskets and heavy artillery, to say nothing of advances in more peaceful areas (the printing press! the industrial revolution!).

Who knows if, or when, I’ll find time to write even a portion of these, but here’s what I’m thinking of for game-related writing ideas at the moment. In a way, my old computer dying and having to re-install everything was both a blessing and a curse.

  • EU4: California, either in narrative or “historical” format
  • EU4: closer to history, and not the same as California. Portugal, maybe?
  • telling about my current (or a future) CK2 game as the Dukes of Chariton in post-apocalyptic North America
  • something for another CK2 game – Celtic, Norse, Finnish?
  • another CK2 game different from the first two, in style as well as content

These, of course, don’t even include various other ideas I’ve had, or will have. I suppose what I should do is work on some of these, but organization and follow-through have never been my strong suit. I also feel like I should start reading for pleasure again, but at the same time I still have these college classes I’m currently taking, so I shouldn’t totally neglect those, and that whole “working to pay rent and bills” thing.

Science fiction and writing ideas

Recently, I’ve been on a reading kick. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but the Internet and various other unfortunate facts of life (i.e., work) ensured that, for a time, I read less than I used to. This year, I’ve read in fits and spurts – reading voraciously for a time, and then not reading for a while due to being occupied by books, school work, moving, and various other petty and quotidian concerns.

In the past week or so, since my university’s winter break started nearly two weeks ago, I’ve been devouring science fiction via my Kindle – more specifically, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Iain Banks’ novels Inversions and Look to Windward. Early this morning, after finishing Look to Windward, I began reading Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade. This is the story of an alien scouting ship landing near a medieval English village, which is promptly taken over by the local Baron after a brief skirmish. After loading his entire village aboard the alien craft and trickery by the sole surviving alien who had been taken captive, the ship’s autopilot takes the ship back to its home base. The Baron sets his sights above merely going to France and the Holy Land, and instead sets about taking on the alien empire- beams, cannon, and starships versus steel, longbowmen, and horse. This story is told by the monk who was initially tasked with learning the alien’s strange tongue, and, after some initial confusion when said alien lacks knowledge of Latin and fails to burst into flames when hearing the Paternoster (I paraphrase), eventually serves as his lord’s interpreter to the aliens. Hearing concepts familar to nearly any science fiction fan (faster-than-light travel, 20th century weaponry, and astronomy, among others) translated through a 14th century monk can be quite entertaining. Suffice it to say that metal detectors are ineffective against wooden trebuchets. 

Anyway, this has given me more ideas for writing Crusader Kings II-inspired after-action reports. I’ve already begun work on a narrative that’s supposed to be similar to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and today’s idea is writing a chronicle from the viewpoint of a monk. This could prove exhaustive, now that I think about it, but I had already been thinking about slight modifications – claiming that it had been translated into more modern language, or something along those lines. Maybe a mere history would suffice without having to do extensive research on medieval monastic chronicles – “In this year the harvest was poor due to the depredations of the Norsemen, may their pagan souls be damned” and so on.