Childhood Obsessions – A Creative Excuse to Play Pokemon Go


Pokemon Go hasn’t been released in Canada yet. But that little fact didn’t stop me from obtaining it. Of course, since I obtained it the day before this post goes live, what else am I going to write about?

When I was a kid, I loved a few things:

  1. Crafts–beadwork in particular
  2. Sailormoon (and related magical girl anime like Magic Knight Rayearth, Card Captor Sakura…)
  3. And Pokemon

I played and enjoyed Pokemon as a kid–it was only of the few games that I enjoyed. It was simple in regard to levelling and battling. With the adorable creatures and the “gotta catch ’em all” collectable tactic, I was hooked.

Exploring the neighbourhood with Pokemon Go, I met other people at a PokeStop (also not impeded by the fact that Pokemon Go isn’t out in Canada yet) and caught a few more Pokemon before I had to run to an appointment. One of those guys had lost 5 pounds in a week just with Pokemon Go.

So what does Pokemon Go have to do with writing, anyway?

The things I enjoyed in my childhood really do play a significant factor into my creative process. Stories I lovingly recall from my childhood capture my imagination. They feel magical to me, intoxicating and brightly coloured.

On creative excuse to play Pokemon Go I had in my back of my mind was Jim Butcher. After all, he came up with a best-selling book series based on it:

How did you come up with the original idea for CODEX ALERA? We’ve heard rumours that it involved a bet on whether you could combine the Roman empire and Pokémon… is that true?

The bet was actually centered around writing craft discussions being held on the then-new Del Rey Online Writers’ Workshop, I believe. The issue at hand was central story concepts. One side of the argument claimed that a good enough central premise would make a great book, even if you were a lousy writer. The other side contended that the central concept was far less important than the execution of the story, and that the most overused central concept in the world could have life breathed into by a skilled writer.

It raged back and forth in an ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FLAMEWAR between a bunch of unpublished writers, and finally some guy dared me to put my money where my mouth was, by letting him give me a cheesy central story concept, which I would then use in an original novel.

Me being an arrogant kid, I wrote him back saying, “Why don’t you give me TWO terrible ideas for a story, and I’ll use them BOTH.”

The core ideas he gave me were Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon… Thus was Alera formed.

I have been under a ton of stress lately. Between work events and overtime, comic expos and festivals, I’m tapped out. Monday, all I did was sleep. Yesterday, I downloaded Pokemon Go. I deserved to have some fun and relax. There is no better excuse to play Pokemon Go than that…right?

So, between obsessively visiting Pokestops in the area and randomly researching how bookstores and libraries plan to lure players to their stores, I have to get back to work today. This week is the DO ALL THE COMIC PLANNING WEEK!


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