This weekend I was busy with family duties but still managed to do a bit of work on WoTW:Earth. Most notably taking the draft ideas Aidan sent through and turning them into mechanics and flavour.
Collaboration is hard.
I’m very conscious that I’m an ignorant so-and-so with strong opinions and a jeadstrong way of doing things. One sure-fire way to motivate me into completing something is to provide me with something that is not the way I’d do it. This isn’t to say that it’s wrong or that my way is actually better, but just the fact that it’s different is enough for me to work on something to illustrate my way.
Am I bloody minded enough to expect mine will be used? I’d like to think not but I think that even after all these years, I find it hard to work with others. Case in point: the lifepath systems we’re building for WotW: Earth can be done in a number of ways. I received Aidan’s notes and I wrote mine out and sent them on and I did say and will continue to say that it’s a work in progress. I don’t know, however, whether my personality (my bloodymindedness) can be put down by soliciting comment and inviting co-work. I’d have to get Aidan to be honest here about whether I am an ogre to work with.
Writing is hard
Harking back to the post on Quality of Play that I made the other day – I need to be very enthused by a game before I’d write for it (which is why I guess I don’t get paid to write – though I’ve never solicited paid writing work nor been asked). When enthused (the Solo Play part), I tend to be quite prolific and productive with writing which is why Crucible Design only published three games and they were the games that I conceived and wrote.
The irony of course is that my most productive times were when I was busy. I worked a 9-5, had a girlfriend, had a weekly game (or two) and would often have to do additional work at the weekends for my job. But I managed to hammer out The 23rd Letter. The next most productive person was Colin who had the job, the girlfriend, the hobbies and managed to do some excellent work on the Projects for The 23rd Letter. Everyone else was either in full time education (and no, it is not more work) or unemployed and getting writing out of them was impossible.
Vision is easy
What it tells me is that it’s easy to have a vision about something. It’s easy to think up a soundbite of a concept and pitch it at a small group of friends. You can wow them with some names you thought up, maybe even some basic sketches that are a subsititute for ‘real work’. The ‘Ideas’ page for LateGaming is incredibly long and I know that perhaps only 10% of them will ever have any real work done on them (and yeah, you can ask and no, they’re not all my ideas).
What this means is that in over five years of ‘writing’, we produced three books and they were the brainchild of (and written by) one person. We had plans for other books and games but none of them were ever completed and few of them got anywhere beyond the most basic concepts. Fancy playing a pirates game? We intended to write one (about 5 years before 7th Sea came out). Cowboys? Check. Corporate Superspies? Check. Commercially-minded Superheroes? Check. But I think that natural selection weeded out the weaker ideas.
The conclusion to this is going to be ‘What about Qabal?’
What about Qabal
It’s just a little too big for me and I need to get back into the flow of writing, raise the bar in terms of production values for the next books I bring out and re-learn a lot of terms. I need to ask friends who do design work for a living to help me with the look of the books and help me visualise the whole process. And all of this before I put any more pen to paper.
At the moment, I have smaller fish to fry.
We’ve cobbled together a style of working that involves us e-mailing to each other stuff that we’ve done and then extemporizing on that work. So far, I think it has worked well – seeing something every day or sometimes more frequently inspires each of us to write more, which then inspires the other to write more in return and so forth.
We’re then using instant messenger for resolving things and brainstorming, then off we go and write little bits again. We’re storming through a first draft, and if this rate of productivity continues, we should have that first draft finished in a month.