Welcome all to the support thread for October 2023.
Happy Birthday to October babies.
Last month’s thread was hopping, thank you, everyone who continues to participate in these threads – it helps others when you do participate, sometimes more than you think.
It is wonderful to share everyone’s journey during the month; both highs and lows help each one of us realize that we are not alone in our journey.
This month @poison_mara has something special going on: The Halloween Jam
If you have time, there are authors looking for feedback here:
This month, I am going to share two different resources, both based on issues raised in last month’s thread.
The first deals with common misconceptions (or myths, as the author calls them) about plagiarism. This article should help firm up your understanding.
The second resource is a Developer Diary about story writing, specifically this developer’s three major pillars: authentic historical setting, deep and compelling characters each with their own personality and agenda, and the choice and consequence that is crucial to the role-playing genre.
All three of their pillars are topics you see on this forum month after month. Getting the perspective of successful and experienced writers should help you in your writing as well.
My goal is to finish my Master’s Thesis, fingers crossed. (And if I’ll have time, do preparation so that I might actually finish my last year’s NaNoWriMo project this year. I got halfway in, so it should be… do-able? I think?)
I don’t mind saying that I have felt in a bit of a funk thanks to various ailments (an ear thing, and now an eye thing - nothing super worrying but the ear thing was debilitating for a few days and I feel generally run down) which put a dent in my energy, writing ability, and social life, and various bad news from the games industry. But: it is very nice to come to these support threads which are always chill and nice.
My goal this month is to write Chapter 6 of Honor Bound. Realistically… I’m not really sure I’ll manage it. I feel a bit nervous about it generally, as I need to do some careful planning to make it all hang together - there are some big plot developments that some players will encounter and others will not, there is some major branching, and mid-game is always a tricky stage. Right now I have a broad-overview shape of it in my head but not much else. While I know it’s OK if it takes longer, I do want to get at least most of it down so I know where things are going for the next chapter.
Something more cheery: I have been tremendously enjoying playing Baldur’s Gate 3 in my evenings and someone on Tumblr asked me about the NPC mods that my wife and I made for Baldur’s Gate 2 when we were in our teens and early 20s. It’s been such a long time since I did anything with them, although my wife and I discuss them sometimes, and it was truly touching to be asked about it - I wrote a post and a Bluesky thread about it here.
My other goal is to play and judge at least 5 games from this year’s IF Comp and give some playtester feedback to the Halloween Jam participants.
Finish up the Maverick profiles and put them on the stat chart.
Get Maverick Hunter: Scandalous Mission ready for the Bare Bones Jam.
In other words, submit whatever I can do.
Be more positive. BE. MORE. POSITIVE.
Get more exposure (???)
Read through a few entries in the Halloween Jam, IFComp (if I can really do it, that will be huge), the aforementioned Bare Bones Jam and find out what everybody else is up to. Check out their strengths and weaknesses. See what I can build on.
And yes, the writer support thread is always a chill and nice place to hang out.
My goal for October is to official start work on my next official game. Due to being unsuccessful in my submission for CoG/HC, this will be for Hosted Games.
I’m currently flicking between either Daemonglass an older project I started a few years ago as part of a NaNoWriMo or A Familiar Magic the game which was originally a female-locked game where you played as a witch who was imprisoned in the body of a familiar after breaking one of the seven witch laws. However I am considering maybe adding a gender choice but it’s a bit tricky as there is a way to allow it but I think it would ruin a twist I have planned, not by spoiling things but altering how a reader would look at it.
Daemonglass is already about 50k words due to being a NaNoWriMo entry (but is also going through some rewrites due to a change with the runecraft), while AFM has about the opening of the game done. I’m looking over both openings atm and am considering posting two demos with the first chapter of each one and letting people vote on which one interests them the most.
I was doing a bit of gardening. Planting in some tiger lilies that have been staying in their same pots for 13 years now. They were my mum’s, but she’s got scoliosis now. Back breaking work and hard labor that I’m not normally used to, but it was good. Meditative.
Ironically, I found myself wandering back to reasons why I shouldn’t write the idea that I’ve got in my head. Three of the big reasons that kept cropping up were:
a.) I’m not really sure if it has a set conclusion like so many books/media have, and I feel like when I try to brainstorm A Conclusion… it feels very forced. Maybe it’s because this idea is all that there is. An idea. I’m thinking of maybe having the end of a chapter instead of the end of a story instead. Our day to day lives aren’t really filled with the end of books/plots, but rather just the end of chapters. And I think that that’s fine. I don’t really want some grand Chosen One plot or some Big Bad Evil that must be vanquished, and instead I want to write some low fantasy crime with romance and a touch of slice of life. Maybe that’s too many genres, but I’m finding as I get older that I like more slice of life.
b.) Do I have a moral of my story? Probably. But I can’t seem to find it… And if I can’t find it… is my writing worth being “printed”? So many of our creative writing teachers stress the moral of the story if you’re writing a linear novel.
c.) Will I be happy if this gets published? Do I want to put my writing out to be judged, to be criticized, to be examined, to be enjoyed?
Anyways, that’s my blurb for today. Man. Procrastination is a bastard.
Something I’ve learned with writing with others in role play, especially as the quote unquote Dungeon Master, is that it’s a collaboration. Concluding my book as the end of a chapter rather than the end of a story means that the reader is free to go from there. Books are too neat and tidy. When has someone actually had a conclusion in their life wrapped in a neat bow? I can’t recall any time in my life that I can say that that has happened to me.
No, it feels more like I just tied a knot in one section of the ribbon before letting it meander into the next chapter and then tie another knot and then another and another. It’s messy, and confusing, and I’m bound to get tangled up at some point. I just have to remember to take it with all the bewilderment and bemusement of a cat. I’ll probably end up laughing about it some time later in my life.
This month, I have two game jams (and currently involved in one), a pending application for a game writer position, and the submission of my first draft of Falrika the Alchemist. Quite a lot on my plate on the writing end of things.
I find it’s better to think in terms of the theme of the story than a moral, per se. Stories with an easily reducible moral tend to be simplistic and preachy. Don’t set out to teach a lesson, set out to explore or illuminate an idea.
So, there are a lot of creatives in writing, art, music, etc, who like a work to have themes and ideas. They want it to have some sort of point. And while there is a time and a place for it, I think it’s silly to say all art should have those things. When I paint, I paint something I think is pretty. When I write, I tell a story I think is interesting. Why should it be any deeper than that? So, don’t worry too much about it. You think Twilight has deep themes? I can’t think of one, and it’s one of the most successful series of the 21st century. And Stephanie Myer had fun writing it, so it’s a win win.