Writing, coding, and limitations

As I’m working on GigaSun Jet’s first campaign story, I had some thoughts about writing stories that I felt like jotting down.  I’ve decided to treat my time on the story as if I’m writing a novel.  It really could end up being a real novel (I’m at about 10% of a short novel now, 6000/60000 words) and then I would have some interesting marketing options.  I wish I could start talking about my story here, but I’ve promised myself that I’d wait at least a month so I could get a solid start.

Writing a story and writing a game are fun creative tasks, but they’re also full of frustration.  One specific form of frustration that is common to both is simply getting started.  Without some sort of structure, getting started can be very tough.

This frustration is a symptom of a problem with many creative endeavors: Too much freedom.  That’s why Ludum Dare works so well.  It gives you some restrictions (time and theme, mostly) that focus you into a creative frenzy for a small product.  There are writing competitions that work in the same way, but I’m not quite part of that big community yet.

Of course, books and games have a few major differences that change how well certain limitations work.  The way that stories are communicated is simply through a collection of specially chosen words.  There are even fewer natural limitations than a game (though games can have true randomness and procedural content).  A game has to be logically consistent to some degree since the structure is based upon logic.  Words in stories, on the other hand, can easily conjure up ideas that can not exist in any reality (i.e. irrational concepts, logical fallacies).  Sometimes, the author can hide the inconsistencies well enough that they don’t interfere with the story.  I won’t get into that any further yet.  That’s a big can o’ worms.

So, my recommendation for you…  If you’re doing something creative, try to brainstorm up some fun restrictions and limitations.  That will help you focus instead of reading silly blogs like this one when you should be working.

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