Writing, Stalling, and More Writing

I picked up where I left off yesterday, continuing with encounter writing. I started writing some of the opening scenes of the encounter, and had a few early bits that I quite enjoyed writing.

However, I reached a point where I started second-guessing the logic of the encounter. The thing I originally wanted to write seems a bit flimsy and contrived. Fun, but I'm not sure a group of people would actually act the way I was writing. Particularly since it seemed contrary to their greater motives.

So I backed off the actual writing for a good portion of the day, and tried to rework elements so it made more sense. I think the overall encounter arc makes sense, which is good, but there are bits that string it together that wouldn't pass close inspection.

I think I'm running into a "sacred cow" situation. A scene seems really good in my head, but makes little sense in context. The fact that I'm saying that is probably all the reason I need to carve it out and rewrite. But it took me most of the afternoon, and writing this news entry, to admit it, I guess.

I think when Monday comes around, I should try rewriting it in a purely logical way. Then, I can take a step back, and look for opportunities to add fun and interesting bits to that, rather than the other way around. Sometimes tearing down and rebuilding is what makes a creative piece better.

We shall see! For now, it's time to wrap up and have some dinner. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!


orbitneo's picture

Thanks, Dan.

The iterative process is an important, indeed. But don't forget to give yourself permission to freely create without second-guessing it. Avoid over-analysis paralysis, as they say. Sometimes it's more important to let a story to reach it's logical conclusion before ripping it apart with criticism. A different approach might be to start with the mechanics and write a story around the game. As an exercise, I'd list all the challenges, penalties and encounter solutions and let a story naturally unfold around those variables. Sometimes it can change your perspective to start at the end result and work your way backward to make all the pieces fit.

Whatever you have to do to get yourself into a zen state and just let the story write itself.

dcfedor's picture

You're definitely right that creativity needs a safe place to operate, free of criticism. I've definitely noticed that brainstorming comes easier without analyzing as I go.

However, I also know that unchecked creativity can be damaging. Particularly in the case of internal consistency and character analysis. Your suggestion of writing freely first, then going back to edit is probably the best compromise. I get the benefit of creativity on the first draft, and editing takes care of flaws and disjoints on the next pass.

And as I mention in today's news post, sometimes a better solution presents itself if you are willing to tear down work and rebuild. Learning to destroy one's own work is a difficult skill to learn, but it's a necessary step towards making better art.

It is a balance, though. One needs just the right amount of nurture and tough love to thrive :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games