Adding Video to Your Writing: the Cringe Factor

Every so often, we have to do things that are out of our comfort zone. My comfort zone is writing, I can think and tinker and if something is crap I can hit the delete button. Unfortunately (and fortunately) the modern world is all about multi-media, which really means being multi-skilled. As a writer, I can’t just sit behind my computer ’til I make it, damn it. For writers, social media has become the X-Factor or “insert your country here” Idol. The back door to being published is having an online persona. This is attractive to publishers, you already have a fan base. If you’re really popular you can tell the publishing houses to bugger off and self-publish. Actually, any idiot can self-publish, but not every idiot has a fan base (my dream is to be one of those popular idiots). To follow my not yet shattered dream, I have just done my first YouTube video. The perfectionist in me isn’t happy; for some crazy reason I think I should master things I do for the first time. I’m not too shabby at writing but I’ve been at it for most of my life. I don’t like writing poetry because I suck, but once again I’ve never overly worked at it and wonder why I can’t be Jim Morrison.

So here’s to me stepping out of my comfort zone. The video is lacking my usual bad attitude (give me time or a bottle of vodka), I will include my original written reviews for both US and Oz versions of Oracle of the Shapeshifters below with smartarse comments intact. It also contains more detail. I have also learnt to watch were I put my bloody hands. Ah live and learn, if someone wants to waste about 5 minutes of their life, here goes nothing…

Oracle of the Shapeshifters US Edition

By Lucy Cavendish & Jasmine Becket-Griffith

So typical, I was sold into the hype of this deck. Raving reviews on YouTube made this deck seem superior to the sister deck, Oracle of Shadows and Light. Personally, I am stunned at my reaction and prefer the sister deck. To be fair I am basing my opinion on the US version of Shapeshifters and apparently there has been a magnitude of change.

        The close-ups and gigantic heads
        The borders are off centred and as a result look sloppy (might just be my deck?)
        Some close up shots have cut into the picture

        The backing
        Fairytale references
        Kids would love it
        Some of the cards are artistically amazing

The artwork seems less intense compared to Shadows and Light, some of the characters are even smiling. While some of the characters are sad, there are none that look like they would run at you with a knife (damn). The deck also marketed for teens (apparently the Australian version isn’t) and the quality isn’t the same.

Final Thoughts
I really need to track down the Australian Shapeshifters to compare.

Oracle of the Shapeshifters Oz Edition

Return to quality. Not just the thicker card stock either. No cut heads or eyes. The US version is aimed at teens, seriously though, teens know good art when they see it, they’re not retarded. Why the change of nearly 1/2 the deck? Who knows, but my money is on money; idiots (re: collectors) will buy both editions, from a business point of view it’s genius.

Overall the Oz deck seems like the sister to Shadows and Light. It’s not quite as heavy and dark but it isn’t as fluffy as the US version. There is attitude to the Oz version and I don’t hate a single card.

I’ve bagged out the US version but there are some cards that are awesome and don’t feature in Oz version. I would kill for an addition (I’m not sure I would replace cards as most have different meanings, but I ever so slightly prefer these US cards) ; 40 Little Brother, Little Sister, 33 A Loyal Guardian, 26 the beardless Poe’s Brave Flight and my favourite 28 Strange Companions in Stranger Places. Ironically card 28 from the Oz version, Wolves of Venice is my favourite card from that deck.

It would be nice if publishing houses kept continuity of backs so collectors could keep adding to their deck. Why hasn’t any publishing house thought about selling additional cards separate?

The US cards that make me cringe, like a dirty old man staring down my cleavage; 6 The Faery Bee, 12 Golden Phoenix, 15 Your Imaginary Friend, 24 The Delicate Faery and her Ferrets, 24 The Mermaid and the Turtle, 36 The Unending Sadness of Looking Back, 14 Miss Spider Web, 13 Time to Say Good-Bye, 16 Dark Sea Mermaid. All these cards are like giving your 5-year-old a camera and letting them take snaps. Zoom out, zoom out. Don’t cut her head off. What happened to her eye? The Oz version is guilty as well but the cut off’s don’t distract me because they aren’t so close up.

The remaining different cards between decks are all beautiful and it boils down to individual choice. Most of these changes seem to be an attempt to unify the deck. The mermaids and a few others in the Oz deck have more mature faces and not so doe eyed. In unifying the US its sacrificed it’s edge.

Final Thoughts
Love, love the Oz edition: the true sister to Oracle of Shadows and Light. While the US deck has some uniquely awesome cards, there are a few too many crap ones that I want to throw into a blender.

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