When I read the article on editing, it sounded like a great idea and probably has some truth to it even now, but you need to be really careful on how you implement this into your own writing. I did this for something like the first twenty or so chapters. Now I need to go back over what I did and make sure I didn't chop it up too much. I am trying to be aware of how I build paragraph structures, which is all part of this shorten paragraph concept. I’ll have to now closely re-read the story while I’m doing my corrections to get the full thoughts re-aligned once again as they should be. It’s just something else that I have to focus on along while I’m doing all of my other editing.
I think for any Indie Writer, the best thing you can do is take the lead from the genre of authors that you yourself love and enjoy reading. I take most of my guidance for things like this from my favorite authors like Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Richard Raley and John Conroe. I observe how they structure their paragraphs; I study how they do their transitions within their stories. Then I try to incorporate those concepts in my own work.
Most importantly, I try to be brutally honest with myself. If something isn’t right or needs work, I accept the criticism and do my best to learn from it. I know I am not perfect. I know that my writing is something I’m teaching myself and that it will be something that gets better with time.
One of the hardest things to get as a writer to get is true criticism from your friends. As a writer, our human nature wants to make excuses for the negative things we might hear about our book. As a friend, we don’t want to hurt our friendship by telling our friend the truth, especially when we know it will hurt our friend or cause a schism in our relationship. It takes effort as a writer to have your friends trust in you enough to tell you the truth of what they really think about your story. The pluses, the minuses and everywhere they think could use some improvement. Then it is up to us, the writer, to take everything we have heard and decide what is good for us to use, what we need to discard and what we need to tweak. Criticism is never easy to take, but I would rather hear this from my friends who are trying to help me improve my story. Because once you publish your story, the readers and critics that read your work aren't going to be gentle and understanding to your mistakes. No, whether or not that they picked up your book free or paid in cash, they're going to compare your story to the current greatest hits on the market. Some will give you the brutal truth, good or bad, while others will simply bash you just because your an Indie writer.
I’m adding another trailer of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Opening Cinematic. If you check this out it won’t give you any spoilers like last week’s trailer would have gone. One of the best parts that I love about this trailer is when the two High Templars merge during the battle into an Archon (http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Archon). For the Protoss, this transformation is when two High Templars give their lives to form one Supreme Being. In the game, the unit would always transform and immediately say “Power Overwhelming!” in this energy-infused deep voice. Always freaking awesome! In the trailer, Blizzard brings the Archon to life with that same pizzazz.
For all of my life I have been a huge fan of anything Sci-Fi/Fantasy and a gamer. For computer games it didn’t matter if it was FPS, Real-Time Strategy or MMOGS, I loved them all. Even now when I find myself too busy to actually find time to play, I still keep up with my favorite video game and my eyes peeled for new titles coming out all the time. Besides helping with ideas for writing, they also just inflame my imagination.
Unfortunately, over the years I’ve noticed that I’ve found myself less drawn to actually playing computer games for the most part. While part of that is due to a general lack of time and my past history of being a Guild Leader for Black Rook Hold on World of Warcraft’s Llane server and going through a major breakup with my then girlfriend/co-Guild Leader, I’ve come to realize that there is more to my lack of interest in playing MMOGS then just the baggage. I ran into two interesting videos that had some good points on this, which you can watch below. While SignsOfKelani makes some good points in the videos, I disagree with his overall premise to a point.
The first big change that I’ve seen hurt many MMOGS is making the game easier to level high level characters. Blizzard is not the first to do this. The first MMOG I ever played was Anarchy Online. Yea … yea, I’m sure you’re surprised it wasn’t EverQuest. It would have been EverQuest if I had a good enough internet connection to play the game at the time. I didn’t, so I hosted LAN parties until my first DSL connection. Anyway, previously Anarchy Online made you save your experience between missions (aka: dungeons). Meaning, if you were in a dungeon and died, you lost all of your experience points gained for the next level. This seems like a horrible idea to the casual gamer, but in actuality it made a lot of sense for the long playability of the game itself. Players didn’t get up to high levels without knowing how to play their class or without knowing how to play with other people in the game world. SignsOfKelani argues that gamers are much more experienced in the mechanics of gaming, while true to a point. Mashing buttons and bum rushing your enemy isn't the strategy of playing your character and working within your team to overcome your enemies. A player's character itself had a certain amount of reputation on the server. Also, if you were an annoying unsociable little shit that couldn’t play well with others; you didn’t level until you learned the above. When you saw a high level character, you knew that person had worked to get that character up to a high level and knew how to play. When they took this away, the game completely changed and not for the better. Over night teams became obnoxious events that made playing with unknown strangers anything but enjoyable. To be honest, I don’t think Anarchy Online ever recovered from their decision to do this. Blizzard over the years has done this in a different way. They have made the games focus on the end game content only and have made it very easy for players to quickly level up a new character and bypass the main content of the World of Warcraft. Although Blizzad’s take on this was different than Anarchy Online, the same comparisons can be made to an extent and also leads into my next point.
The second big issue is making looking for groups, dungeons, raids and teams easier has created a host of secondary problems. Previously you could follow a storyline for a series of quests that lead to unlocking major game events or you could simply run to the dungeon by exploration and get a certain amount of quests completed. While this might be considered annoying to people who just want to level their character up because their friends are high level, it really is a disservice to the world itself . Just leveling up a character and bypassing this content means these players are missing a huge part of the game and what makes playing an MMOG enjoyable in the first place (Aka the social aspect and the world itself). If these are new players, they are going to get their fix by joining their friends for a quick few games and then leaving the MMOG. They’re not really there for the game itself or for any longevity. Changing the entire world to fit their fleeting gaming habits means you’re removing the playability to your entire player base to a point. The whole looking for groups, dungeons, raids and teams where you’re transported directly to the dungeon automatically is also removing the MMOG’s playable content. No longer do you need to take the time to form relationships with other gamers, ask people how to find the dungeon, explorer the world or learn how to form teams on your own. For the sake of convenience and to speed leveling up your character quickly, you can do this on the fly. All for the sake of getting to the “End Game”, while bypassing again everything that makes a social MMOG worth playing.
Lastly, games have specialized content for a reason, to give a player something to look forward to and work for. There has been this huge push to make the “End Game” easier for every player, casual/hardcore, to be able to experience the game content easily and quickly, but in doing so the game is over quickly. There is not striving to get through those specialized areas. The casual gamer is angry because to get to these areas takes so much hard work in learning their characters and getting a group of friends together to go through the content that they want it made easier, while the hardcore gamer want to be able to hit this harder content in a challenging way and be considered special for being able to do these difficult dungeons.
In truth, I think having these specialized areas are essential to MMOGS. Having something to strive to attain makes the earning it so much better. Makes these world events on par with a normal dungeon is like being given a first place trophy for something you’ve never accomplished. What meaning does that have for you if it was just given to you when you didn’t truly earn the accomplishment? I think high content within MMOGS should be similar. When the game designers just hand it to you without any effort, then the desire to strive for it is no longer there. This is why I think many of the MMOGS are struggling to hold onto any type of character base. WoW still has so many because the game is so good, but even they are beginning to loose players in unbelievable numbers.
I think that’s enough of my gaming philosophy on MMORG for now. I hope I didn’t bore any of you non-gamers out of your mind. Anyway, for now I’m working my butt of getting Destiny cleaned up and ready to publish. Also, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.