“Felix” Inches Forward a Little


Atronauts on Mars look for “Felix”

I actually got back to work on “Felix” this week. I think my idea to use the animation program STATE to help me write will work.

A couple of weeks ago I installed the animation program STATE on my computer. It is a hacked version of the Xtranormal program. I was reluctant to use it at first because of the uncertain legal status. Since Xtranormal shut down the program’s legal status is in limbo. That might be clarified soon, if the planned resurrection of Xtranormal happens. I decided that it would be OK for me to use STATE as a writing tool until the legal issue is resolved.

I also used STATE plus, which is an add-on that allows you to modify characters, sets and actions. I found that useful on this project.

I wanted to rewrite several scenes from “Felix” that I wasn’t happy with. In the first scene I tried the two astronauts explore a site on Mars and argue about what they find. STATE didn’t have a Mars set, so I modified the Moon set to look like Mars.

I shifted the colours from black/white/grey to pink/pink/red. I removed the lunar lander and the flag. I also duplicated the astronaut character, so I would have two characters. I gave them different helmet colours to tell them apart.

I tried twice to write a new scene. Both times went quite smoothly, but I wasn’t happy with the way I did it the first time, so I started over. I’m much happier with the second try and plan to build on that. I do find that it is easier for me to write with this approach, and I find that it does spark my creativity.

Unfortunately, I got distracted by experiments with the program. I didn’t really need to modify the set and characters like I did for what I planned to do. Even after I had something that looked like Mars, I continued to tweak it. It does look better, but it is hard to justify the extra effort.

On the other hand, maybe the extra work does help. The more appropriate it looks, the more it can “put me in the right mood” for the story. We’ll see how it goes this week.

I had thought my idea for this story was original, but then on one of the Lovecraft Geek podcasts (http://lovecraftzine.com/the-lovecraft-geek-robert-m-price-podcast/), Robert Price mentioned that someone had suggested that a new version of At The Mountains of Madness would have to be set on the Moon. I think Mars is a better choice.

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