Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yes! Got two pages. Ran over with this blog post. No stats, but I go in to work late, so I will probably yet get them (stretch my hour to an hour and a half. Take that, The Man!)

In light of two plus unpublished novels, several more unpublished shorts stories, and etc., I often wonder why I keep writing. Why I rearrange my life to keep this particular activity going. I wrote a glib essay about the time constraints a couple of years ago, which I posted to my website (and just now noticed that the title bar is incorrect...rrrrr). But I turn it over in my head alot, a lot. The why. There's other crap I could be doing. Kayaking. Ballroom dancing. Cooking. Lately, I've been thinking the same about my game: I like my new gamers, and love the stories they're giving me a chance to do (I'm going to stick giant monsters into the new game every chance I get). But its a lot of work to put together a fresh scenario every couple of weeks.

In both cases, right now, I've convinced myself that I like the puzzle of it.

a) In gaming, I like figuring out the funny little number/die roll sequences that might model some weird sort of magic that I haven't seen anybody try before. Like magic guns. Or making super technology out of raw chaos.

b) In stories and gaming, I like figuring out the logical sequence of events that: gets the point of the adventure across, conveys the informatino that needs to be conveyed, makes sense in a narrative fashion, and creates the right amount of friction to be excitement.

I'm no good at real puzzles, mind you: physics or math or anything like that. But I like narrative puzzles. It gives me an odd sense of calm, making up lives out of whole cloth.

I would almost quit gaming to work on my fiction more, except that with gaming I know that I have an audience for a particular piece of puzzlemaking that I've been doing. Oh yeah, and the fiction is harder. It's just a hell of a lot harder to construct the little logic puzzles of narrative out of meaningful sentences, using the sentences that came before it as clues. It's double hard if you don't outline it before hand. They come together at an agonzingly slow pace, too. Two pages a day four or five days a weeks sometimes isn't a full scene.

A stat block is a pain in the ass, but it is formulaic. It is in no way hard, it doesn't need to be particularly coherant in a narrative sense, and it comes together immediately. I really make the story part up later, when I'm playing a stat block out.

Next post is about my daugther. Post after that about my paracosm. Oh, yeah: did I say I love words created to describe imaginary things? That should be a post, too.

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