Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The New Thing: In Closing

When I started this series of New Thing posts I simply wanted to find out whether any of my ideas had an audience, but I very quickly realised that your questions (and my focus on answering them) was helping me get a feel for each project. At the same time as we were discussing each pitch, I explored each idea, and now I've got a good sense of what needs to happen next. There are 2.5 projects I want to dig into further(*), and 1.5 projects that I realise now are more for fun (and can slip a little down my to-do list).

(*) I'll go into details about those, below.

Another thing I didn't realise when I started was how much I'd appreciate people getting involved in and commenting on each project. Your comments continuously surprised me (people wanting a female bully, the positive reaction to Artificial, Matt disliking the narrator of my excerpt from Left Coast). My conclusion is that discussing your projects is good - enthusiasm is good and criticism is also good (and not as off-putting as I feared I might find it). So, thank you very much for all your thoughts and feedback.

The big lesson for next time - because I do think I'll do this again - is to handle the online conversation more carefully. I made an effort to answer everyone's comments and questions - which forced me to pay attention to what was really being said, and to think about each project in more detail. However, I failed to be as interactive as I wanted to be - due to some privacy concerns, I stopped auto-linking each post on Facebook, and I didn't follow twitter as much as I wanted to (... and I'm not exactly sure why I didn't). I also have to be careful to not suffer from blogger's syndrome - to not to let the buzz of getting really involved in answering questions (and discussing the ideas) to substitute for working on the idea

What's next

Workplace Bully is definitely one of the projects to dig into further (and I want to thank everyone for their enthusiastic and challenging comments about it). During the last month I've been researching and outlining it, specifically trying to get an idea of how the second half of the story might work. Turns out there's a danger that I could write it so that it's too plotty rather than about the characters (Billy's 'educational video' effect). The next step is to explore its ideas and develop its plot.

Artificial wasn't as easy to write as I'd hoped. I am going to have to sit down with it for a ... fortnight? a month? and investigate it further. This is an idea I like, but I could easily see myself abandoning it if I don't think it's worth working through the Dip on it.

As for The Orphans, I love the characters, I made good progress on outlining the story and I'm desperate to know how it all turns out. I'm just not sure if it's a movie, and I'm not sure if I will want to take it any further once I've finished outlining it. For the moment, I'm gunna consign it to PLAY!

Finally, Left Coast. Judging from the number of idea-bombs that exploded in my brain while I was thinking about this, I believe can be a good game. From what I can tell, the effort I need to put in to making it something that others can playtest is reasonably small. I think if I dedicated a couple of weeks to it, I could get it into shape.

So, from here I'm going to concentrate on getting outlines together for Workplace Bully, Artificial, and one other idea (which I'll hopefully confirm with the people involved in the next three weeks). In the downtime from doing that, I'll work on a rough-n-dirty playtestable draft of Left Coast for me and others to have fun with. The outlines, though, are definitely the main priority.


Karen said...

Thanks for sharing and for answering my many questions (Warning-after-the-fact... giving me permission to ask questions is dangerous)

I'm selfishly glad you are carrying on with Left Coast and Artificial, cos I'd really like to play/see the results some day! [BTW Matt... more sympathy than you, though I agree this hints at appalling parenting... persistently crying babies can really f**k you up... I never personally walked out on mine for more than a few minutes while I got a grip... but not everyone parents with reliable sober backup or local support]

Gaming tonight and got 10 minutes to tidy lounge before I pick up the kids...

Steve Hickey said...

You've been great, Karen. I've appreciated your many questions!

One of the best things about this whole process has been the ability to give myself permission to explore an idea without committing to it. I think that both Left Coast and Artificial (and me) are going to benefit from that.