Ash Seeketh Ember: The Balance Between Fiction and Non-Fiction

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This isn’t the final layout of chapters but should be pretty close.

Writing what amounts to an extended article on the lore of Dark Souls III had been a fun endeavour. Like the articles I’d write for magazines, this one has begun with an outline and copious notes from names to kanji and pieces of dialogue. The chapter titles, for the most part, are all taken from titles or phrases used in dialogue; not puns but close.

My beautiful, virgin YouTube history is now full of videos; walkthroughs, let’s plays, random dialogue, the endings. I’ve got a list of sources as long as Dion’s tail. Sources are the bit you never see in articles, despite every journalist having either a mental or physical list. Sources are important because they validate what you’re saying. Think about it in a scholarly context where you’re not allowed, academically, to have an original idea. Everything you say, every idea, must be cited and attributed to someone, a book or a person and the final slog is normally an epic list of books and other media. Though, because I was a swot who hated that task, always did them as I went. The same applies here … I’m noting who I use and for what.

Writing Ashes is a little different because I’m allowed to engaged in wild speculation but I’m still keen to keep this grounded, to cite wherever possible, which in my case means item descriptions and dialogue serve as my primary sources. Each chapter behinds with a quote which sums it up and I’m trying to keep my personal theories to the end, a la Redgrave and Aegon (who I admit to being an unabashed fan of).

if you want a scale: VaatiVidya is over on the left (mainly because he does lore videos but also caused quite a plagiarism stink last year), Redgrave is just right of middle (and I love how he looks at the little things others might not notice) and Aegon is on the other side, firmly in the scholar camp because he’s doing, I believe, his Ph.D.

I’m aiming to be in the middle of the latter two because it’s a nice comfortable spot that allows me to remain a journalist and a one-time scholar but also lets me exercise my writer’s brain and dream a little, connecting the dots as Miyazaki-san once did as a boy, unable to read the books he borrowed from the library.

Though I’m in the middle of re-drafting “Infinity Girl and the Shadow” this weekend, I’m still actively trying to make my way though the game’s second half. I believe the English embargo drops on the 8th, though this seems to have been retconned to the 11th. The embargo doesn’t include me though I’m aware it involved streamers getting early access providing they didn’t stream past the Abyss Watchers. Except the entire game is now online, thanks to the Japanese PC build. With English dialogue.

This is fantastic for me, for my project, and as I’ve never signed an NDA relating to the game I can write all I want. Part of me, the ex-journalist, almost wants to abide by the embargo out of politeness except this project was never intended to be out before the game’s western release. Two weeks is a good span to work with, plus an extra week to get some extra lore-based stuff I know will be going up from my favourite streamers, the ones who like to dig like

Part of me, the ex-journalist, almost wants to abide by the embargo out of politeness except this project was never intended to be out before the game’s western release. Two weeks is a good span to work with, plus an extra week to get some extra lore-based stuff I know will be going up from my favourite streamers, the ones who like to dig like FiGhTiNCoWbOy and EpicNameBro. Plus I also want to get my hands on something ‘official’, in this case the Prima Strategy Guide for some of the spellings I’m not sure on and the lesser enemies’ names which FromSoft never ever include in their games.

So, yeah, expect this maybe a week after launch. Ish.

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New Project Alert: “Ash Seeketh Ember: The Lore of Dark Souls III”

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So I got bored over the weekend and dived into Dark Souls III livestreams (I found one by a nice kid called Yusha who put up wth the weird gaijin woman cheering from the sidelines) and decided, sod it, there are no answers so I need to find them. This is typical of Aspie Me and I’ve not had a game to obsess over since Bloodborne. Bipolar Me just started wondering if I was manic (I don’t think so) though I do want to spend lots of time writing this thing. That’s inspiration, not mania.

That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

A while ago a nice chap called Redgrave made the Bloodborne crowd super happy by writing what amounted to a dissertation on the game called The Paleblood  Hunt (you can go download it here), it’s basically become the seminal work on the game’s lore, often cited by anyone who takes these things seriously. Like me. I first came across it watching Aegon of Astora’s epic lore-through and wished I’d had the mind to do that myself.

Then Dark Souls III came out and … well … I called shotgun.

It’s 100% unofficial, based on the various streams I’ve been watching and something I’ve decided to do, mostly, for my own amusement.

I’ve been wanting to do a non-fiction project for a while. Journalist Me misses journalism (not the people, the atmosphere or the crap pay, just the writing) and Dark Souls III really does interest me from my scholarly bent as a theologian and professional worldbuilder. I love how the world is there but you’re left to discern the story for yourself via dialogue, item description and the power of your own brain.

It’s a lot of work but the game isn’t out for another fortnight … and the entire thing has been leaked onto the internet via the power of YouTube. Plenty of time. Right? Oh and I announced it on Reddit, gave folks a sampling of my localisation bit where I talked about the etymology of one of the major characters and how the Japanese name was closer to the true soul of the character than the English and they liked it.

I’m not sure how long it will be, a decent length though as there is a lot of lore, from NPCs to locations to cover. I’m confident it’s going to be good and a nice change to fiction for once, even though the byline will remain Asha Bardon.

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