Monday, February 16, 2015

Dusting Off Old Manuscripts

Today I'm over at the IWSG website talking about the all important question of whether or not to resurrect an old manuscript. And you guessed it--it's not a simple yes/no answer. I'd love to see you over there.

After today, I'll be going back to my writing and game development work. Puff, puff, puff. My next post will be on March Fourth and I'll be going back to my monthly posting. In the meanwhile, please enjoy the image below:

Mostly I enjoy taking photos of the natural world, but occasionally I find beauty in the industrial world as well.

Don't forget to pop on over to the IWSG website!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

An Interview with Lynda R Young

Today I'm being interviewed by the lovely Maggie at Just Get it Written. Please join us over there. I'd love to see you.

I'd also like to thank C Lee McKenzie for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thanks so much for the award. I must admit, having decided to spend less time blogging in favour of game development and writing, I thought I might disappear from people's thoughts across the blogsphere, so the award came as a wonderful surprise. Thank you, Lee!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Some Necessary Truths about Creativity #IWSG

As many of you know, I’ve been working on game design and I’ve discovered—much to my delight and distress—that it’s very similar to writing. Because of this, I’ve learned a few unexpected truths about creativity I’d like to share with you today.

Game design, along with writing, can be frustrating. This may not come as a surprise to many of you, but I think it’s a truth we live with on a surface level until we’re sunk in the thick of it. When we’re not feeling the frustration, we can brush it away, shrug, and say, “Sure, frustration comes with anything creative. It’s part of the deal.” It’s harder to say that when we’re experiencing the angst of something not working the way we want/need.

Frustration is the doorway through which doubt can creep. Resentment for the project can rise, a sense of failure can take hold. The extremes don’t happen every time, but the frustration is the seed from which all those nasties can bloom. It's important, even crucial, to understand the truth that yes, setbacks can happen when we’re creating something from the heart, and it’s okay. It doesn’t make us failure if a solution doesn’t come to us right away. It doesn’t mean that’s the end of our writing/game design/[insert creative outlet] career.

Game design, along with writing, is slow. Writing an outline for a new manuscript can take me a month or more. Then writing the first draft can take another month or three or four or five... Then there’s all the rewriting, editing, and tweaking. The same goes for game design. Planning what I want for the game takes forever. Then designing the pieces, building them, thinking up puzzles and interesting levels, then implementing them in a way that actually works in the environment and on the platform… takes an eternity.

I’ve learned testing is crucial. Test often. If I spend the time making everything look pretty before I’ve tested it, then I’ve potentially wasted a lot of time if at the end I discover it has to be redone from scratch. The same goes for manuscript writing. If I spend days, weeks even, prettying up a scene without checking to see how that scene works in the story, then I could be wasting time. And once it’s pretty, it’s even harder to throw away if it doesn’t work.

Because anything creative takes time to get right, because it can be frustrating, it’s important to remind yourself why you started in the first place. It’s important to celebrate the little victories—I actually got a mini puzzle working in my game. I was so excited to see it working that I celebrated the event even though in the big picture it was such a little thing. It helped me focus on the win rather than on the mountain of work I’ve yet to accomplish. And it’s important to remember your love for the project. That love will get you through fire.

What are some truths about creativity you’ve learned? How do you bolster yourself up when the project is dragging its feet?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.