Wash. Rinse. Repeat. (with bits of Color and Bleach)
I’m tempted to play that song by the Talking Heads, y’know, Once in a Lifetime, but you can just click the link and listen to it. This is the 21st century people! I’m listening to it right this very minute.
Anyway, today has been a day much like many other. Work proceeds apace. Eyes are checking out Agents of Oblivion. Memphis has smacked me in the face with a most oppressive heat and I’d like nothing more than taking a long nap. It’s that time of year and for all the mildness of earlier months. The humidity has conspired to drain the creative spirit and turn one’s mind to other things. The air conditioning fights the good fight. I stave off a case of ennui incurred by a bad night’s sleep and I check things off my list.
I’ve made the rounds with my guys. I spoke with Kristian and Brad about some secret and not-so secret stuff. I’ve written words. I’ve forgotten things only to remember them again as I attempt to get up from the desk to break for lunch. My mind is free-floating today. It refuses to anchor itself. I hunted down project lists, in an attempt to focus. And it’s worked a bit. I’ve got the next guidebook for RunePunk already turning in my mind. It’s for The GearLost Vale. I cannot wait to see what’s lurking in the cool recesses of my imagination, but I’m sure I’ll be surprised. I’ll start on that fresh in the morning.
This afternoon, I’m doing some more research. I devour words. I turn phrases. I consume media. I shall be curled up in the darkness reading and plotting and planning. If I don’t forget, I may even take time to sneak some lunch in there.
What do I want from you? Throw out a topic you’d like me to talk about. Will it be writing? Gaming? Publishing? What’s my favorite movie? Why do I ask you to supply grist for the mill? When will I release the AoO teases? Now’s your chance to sound off.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!
What do you find to be your biggest muse when it comes to writing? What motivates you and helps churn ideas onto the page?
What genres do you find the most interesting to write setting or adventures for? And what resources do you use to find inspiration for those genres?
Do you find that working on so many projects at once allows you to retain your focus, or simply provides more avenues for distractions?
I completely understand the weather impacting work. I’m teaching online for WVU this summer and being hold up all day checking emails and grading quizzes because of this damn heat is almost maddening.
Ever since your interview on the Redphonezone I’ve wondered what your top ten all time favorite movies would be. Wanna talk about them and why? Or how about the top ten best movies for roleplaying game inspiration? Or how about both?
When first-draft writing for gaming products, do you have a pre-conceived format in mind (and if so, how much does this shape your ideas) or do you just let it all flow out and squeeze it into form in a later pass?
That, and the AoO teasers…
First off, I want to thank all of you for your questions. I will address these in upcoming RWR, but here are some quick and dirty answers for those among you who have, shall we say, less than saintly patience.
1. Anything can spark ideas. Ultimately, this is my full time gig, and I cannot wait on some mischievous muse to come along with a basket full of ideas. It may sound less than magical, but I work from a master plan with spreadsheets and deliverables.
2. As you can tell from our product catalog, I like writing for a broad spectrum of genres. Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to development. For example, RunePunk allows for a broad spectrum of creativity, but everything must be created from whole cloth as ScatterPoint is a unique space. On the other hand, Agents of Oblivion is based upon the real world (albeit, quite modified) which allows for a different, sort of focus. The world is constantly changing, so there can be the very real and, ultimately, unavoidable deviation from what is real. As for inspiration, anything at all is grist for the mill. A news article, a television show, a video game, a book, a website, or a conversation can be the kernel for an idea of some sort. Whether it gets developed, however, is another question altogether.
3. As the overarching mastermind, I have many irons in the fire, but I am not forging them alone. Over the years, I’ve developed a good team and the discipline to apply my focus where most needed. Are there times when I’d just like to hole up and work on one particular line? Certainly. I believe that’s simply human nature. I thrive on variety and moving between product lines allows me to grow on a personal level as a writer, and it’s reflective in my work. I try to minimize distractions. When I get an idea for something outside of our present scope, I jot a note down about it. The only limiting factor for me is hours in a day. There are some passion projects I’d love to work on and I set aside some time to do that, but it’s at the bottom of the priority list. Other items come first. The things you see me talking about are only a fraction of the things I’d like to develop, but I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut a bit about things which may or may not ever see the light of day.
4. Tall order. I’ll have to mull these two over! If I whip out a quick answer, it won’t do this topic justice. The problem is I love movies and I’ve seen a lot. To distill the list down to just ten is so difficult. The movies I listed on the RedPhoneZone interview certainly inform my RPG design and development and will have to tide folks over for awhile.
5. Once upon a time, I was very much in the form follows function camp. This works well for a lot of things, but to maintain the quantity and quality of our work, we’ve gone to a more structured format. Take our adventures and guidebooks, for example. Each of them uses the same basic template. Like with poetry or movie structure, however, there is a tremendous amount of room to develop any sort of adventure. Using this structure has, ultimately, proved to be quite liberating. I don’t have to fumble with how I’m going to present said materials, I can simply dig into the work at hand. This aids my writers, editors, and streamlines the layout process. When I first began developing materials for Savage Worlds back in 2004, I was a complete neophyte in the industry, but my deep RPG background and analytical nature allowed for rapid deconstruction of book structure. Simply put, I know how to organize a book and put what goes where. I build from a template and only after the draft is done and other eyes review it do we then consider reordering any of the material. Sometimes, grouping certain things together makes sense. Other times, having too large a chunk of “something” can interrupt the flow. Other eyes help in this matter. Second guessing what goes where during the writing is the bane of productivity and should be reserved for second (and later) passes unless it proves to be conducive to the developmental flow (which is rare in most cases).
Remember, these are the short answers and I’ll be revisiting them. If you have more questions or comments, hit me up. This is good stuff!