If writing is so easy then where is your visual novel

2021-04-15 14:03:30

Heyo, I have been working on my visual novel consistently despite being exhausted by the work load as a first year 'mature' student. I am taking 5 classes and if it wasn't for Japanese 1A being a bludge, I would be struggling. This github screencap proves my attempts to at least refine my code for over 2 months! It doesn't take into account how I burn the midnight oil in a Google doc!

Since Feb 18th.

I write, I fiddle with some art and I attempt some new coding things. Mostly, I've been writing, story is king. It is kinda hard to get into flow for long chunks of time, since I am dragged away by school worries but overall I am very proud for keeping this project up. 

I wrote this up on itch.io, but more people read here. 

I play more 'earthy' music when I need to get into writing zone. I sometimes am hit by inspiration when commuting by train. I write down chunks of text on my phones just of something a character says or does. I start to light on fire and get in the zone, typing down things that emotionally hit harder. 

I am a bit weirded out by local game devs who value some concept of 'mechanics' being what 'makes the game.' Aka, they think their skills as a programmer are more important than that of a master of characters and drama.

Tell that to Gen Urobuchi, who started out as a visual novel writer and then went on to write Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero, and is kind of an idol of mine. Both are awesome but he was a game writer first. Nobodies skills are better, just let writers be fucking valued too.

I did some stuff like scan ripped paper for that, just to get it in. Need to make buttons more visible!

My game is a visual novel, it is hardcore story work, the visuals just support that. I am not a fan of showing off how many words my document and project is (although I'm at 36 pages and that's not including what I've coded) because I have refined and refined and refined. Also, I jump all over the place, I wrote the most vile and intense parts when I needed to. I write the soft and innocent parts when I need to feel those feelings.

Writing is a valid game focus. Even if it draws from multiple disciplines of writing, art and even film, it is still a programmed thing. It should be enjoyable to click around and just sit with the characters and hopefully communicate both the happy and painful times they endure.

Storytelling is emotion. I see some heckin' bad writing everywhere, not just in visual novel communities. Everyone is too afraid to let them know its 'bad'. It's not their ideas usually, it's the way they communicate. There is no personality. No awareness of how real humans love and hate. No inner world, writing third person doesn't mean you disregard the mental scape. It's a different skill to analyse movies and games and write essays for school, but most people flop mega hard when communicating narratively. That is because it is also a different skill!!

Fiction is more than 'Bob went to the lake because he likes to fish but bob gets mad one day when a fish takes all his bait.' but hey, if you wrote that a bit better, it could be good writing! There is nothing inherently stopping any concept from being engaging and interesting.

That is what most game devs don't understand. It's not all about lazers or fantasy orcs. It's not about stats and rolling die. Being a programmer isn't all of makes you a real game dev. Maybe it's easier for them to relate to software skills, instead of the mystery of human storytelling which has existed since the dawn of time. It is also the thing which will take much longer to be replaced by artificial intelligence. It's all using patterns, trying to combine things in a satisfying way. Writing and coding aren't that different.

Also, even the people who say they write usually get a bit too ahead of themselves. It's not normal to boast about doing everything from prose to journalism, a list of about 15 things. Where do men get this grandiose sense of self esteem from? Well, the Dunning-Kruger effect is real. That is the opposite of Imposters syndrome, it means that the less someone knows the more self aggrandising on the subject they are.

I wont say I'm an amazing writer that should be hired to do stuff. I just want to be the best creator I can be.

hard work. not 50 pages to say i'm a good writer.

Also, making a game set in South Australia is important to me. I know people completely ignored my older blog post where I mentioned my origins for making this game, but fuck you. I will bring it up again and again because this is my State and my spirit. My blog is my safe space to say what I want but I want to do it constructively more than ranting about society like I sometimes do.

When I rant about my pain, it leaves a sick feeling in my mouth and stomach. It's poisonous, so I want to just show off some prose. Maybe people only follow me for toxic spewed bloggage.

I am aiming for my entire story to be even better than the paragraphs I have shared. It is a difficult feat, I take no word for granted. Everything about good writing is specifically crafted and not just run along sentences of 'Bob doing things'.

Anyhoozle, this is a long journey, and I knew it would be. I knew it would be tough to puff out my chest and call myself a writer. Luckily, it is not so lonely because I have the comfort of these characters. I am not afraid to share emotional screengrabs because I have nobody to spoil this too. I just cherish having an outlet for so many emotions pertaining to trauma, society and my lasting discomfort of medical institutions.

I'll leave it at that. Sayonara space cowboy, or cowgirl or cowzi-zxer. I'm trying to be inclusive ok.