Welcome to 5 Questions, a column where we ask games developers, writers, and others involved in the industry questions that have nothing to do with games. In this edition, we spoke to Natalie Flores, Assistant Managing Editor right here at Fanbyte. You can follow Natalie on Twitter at @heartimecia.
What’s your morning routine?
“Morning” is a generous word because I sleep in as much as I can get away with on any given day. I have a pretty good brain for figuring out how long I can put off having to start my day or do a thing while also not leaving so little room that I have to rush myself or risk being late. Being late to something is one of my worst sources of anxiety! So I sleep in, but not so much that I’ll feel like I need to work without breaks throughout the day to compensate.
Taking those breaks is essential for me because of my chronic pain, so part of my routine is also to do stretches. They sometimes help to minimize the trouble my body will give me that day. I live with my parents right now, so giving them a good morning kiss and asking how they rested and feel is really important. I’ll often forget to check in with them because I’m so focused on work, so I want to always show them that bit of care even on my busiest days. I also need to get my face licked, like, 50 times by our doggo — he doesn’t stop giving kisses once he starts — and ignored by my cat.
After that, I’ll do the usual post wake-up hygiene things before sitting at my desk to start working. If it’s the weekend and I have no immediate responsibilities, I’ll probably lie down in bed again since that’s the best way for me to curb body pains, and continue reading the fanfic I put on pause when I got up.
What are some things you use everyday that you enthusiastically recommend?
My gooseneck phone holder has legitimately saved my hands. It’s good and you can just read a lot on your phone or doom scroll while lying in bed. It’s self-care! Also, at this point I can’t live without my sleep masks. I make sure to get really cute ones — my two current ones are pink and fluffy and have fake jewels on them. Lastly, my entire skincare routine. I’m very dedicated to it, and I don’t know if I could pick just one item among my nine-step routine, but if I had to, it would be the Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule.
Read any good books lately? Listen to any good records?
I should read more books. I’m currently on a trip in Nicaragua for medical purposes, so I brought a bunch of things with me, including my Kindle, but I’ve predictably continued to do the thing I did at home, which was just read fanfiction. I’m really into reading a mix of my current favorite ships: Catradora from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and CaitVi from Arcane.
Anyway, books. I’ve been making sure to carve at least 30 minutes or more at the end of my day to read through The Game Narrative Toolbox. It comes with exercises, so I’m doing those in between highlighting and note-taking as I’m reading. I feel like it’s time I learn about narrative design, which has been very scary because I’ve never thought of myself as someone who can write a line of fiction. It’s hard not to be self-defeatist and say “I can’t do this thing,” but it gets easier the more time and effort I invest into it. Turns out it’s perfectly normal, and even healthy, to start something and not expect to be immediately perfect at it. I’ve already started, so I might as well not stop. I want to run out of good Catra and Adora fanfiction to read so that I can start working through The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I hear is very gay and good (my favorite kind of story). But I found a new favorite a few days ago, so that will have to wait.
As for music, I currently have the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker soundtrack on repeat but am especially obsessed with “Flow.” It’s my favorite song in an overall incredible soundtrack, and it got a music video last week, so I’ve been more emotional over it than usual. Otherwise, I spend most of my time listening to K-pop, so I’ve been really into the recently-debuted LE SSERAFIM’s “Blue Flame.”
What’s an item of clothing you’re really into right now?
Nice socks can only make your life better, not worse.
What’s one thing you’d like to do more of?
I’d like to get further into the narrative design thing! I want to learn more about it, sure, but I also want to try my hand at Doing It in whatever spare time I can carve out when I’m not working. Learning more about how games are made makes me better at my job and overall more considerate about others (in this case, the people who make them and whom I edit or write pieces about). I’d generally like to be a little less sad and work-focused, a little more present and dedicated to my loved ones. I’ve always struggled with that, so I can’t say I’ll accomplish that anytime soon, but I think it’s a good sign that the thought is always in the back of my mind, if not at the very forefront!