I’m seriously considering…

Posted on October 6, 2011

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…starting a major writing project.  The problem is that I know there’s no end-goal in sight.

Let’s review: I’m doing the stay-at-home-dad bit, and it’s going well.  I wake up and make breakfast for the family; I work out while my daughter watches some TV; I play with the kid, or we do some lessons (she can almost say the alphabet now); she takes a nap, I write; the afternoon repeats the morning routine.  What concerns me is the writing part.  I’ve been dividing my time between random fantasy writing (mostly RPG design) and designing a board game.

The good news is that the board game has seen a play-test session, and the second version is complete.  I’m waiting for my partner to do some more tests, and hopefully find a publisher.  The bad news is that my fantasy writing is entirely contained within a roleplaying game, and has no real hopes of being published.

Here’s the details: I love the Planescape campaign setting from second edition AD&D.  It’s a beautiful mix of philosophical concepts and real-world societies.  It’s got a Victorian/Steampunk/High Fantasy feel to it.  And there’s a lot of “literature” surrounding it, which is part of the problem.  I want to write about this setting, to take ideas that I’ve read and found across the ‘net and put them into a finished product that could conceivably be published as a revival of an old game, adapted to a new set of rules, for a new era of gamers…  But it’s not my work.  It’s not my ideas.  The writing is mine, and I feel as though I’ve kept my skills up, but I’m worried that I’m getting a bit obsessive about it.

For example, I’ve already started brainstorming plans for a Planescape 4th Edition website, complete with titled sections that explain my gaming philosophy, design paradigm, and analysis of the melding of the 2nd and 4th editions of D&D.  Now, I can gleam some good from this: I’m applying my design skills, and a finished product (with critique from like-minded gamers on the ‘net) would provide feedback about my work; I’m constantly writing, in this case with an eye towrad a finished product that is part creative and part instructional; and I get to play around with the sort of thing that I love, namely creating fantasy worlds.  The bad lies in the fact that it isn’t my own work: it’s a world/setting created by someone else; it’s intellectual property that I can’t claim credit for; it will do nothing other than offer me practice.

In the end, I’ve got a plan.  I can work on Planescape as a writing exercise, and I can steal the really good ideas from it and apply it to my own work, but I still need to make an effort to advance my stuff.  I’ve been working on a board game, and have ideas for two more, but I should probably work harder at making my writing a reality.

And I should probably stop using this blog as a source of self-evaluation.  That is, if I expect to have a serious readership…

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Posted in: Games, Writing