This week we have a grand adventure in a haunted house with Penelope and Echo, over in //021: Choke Point. Of course, that’s the latest chapter of the City of Angles saga, and we’re nearing the end… if you need to hop in at the beginning, you should read //001: Starting Out Sideways.
As for blog content… today, I’d like to be a bit wacky and/or implied serious.
My major hobby is video games. I love retro games. I love gamer culture. I love following game industry news. As a child, I dreamed about joining Sierra On-Line or Lucasarts (both now defunct) to make amazing narrative games. Eventually I gave that dream up because game industry jobs are as stable as a Pacific fault line, but I still partake in the scene gladly.
One advantage games have over writing is a true sense of progression, with little reward food pellets along the way. Put in the time, and you get the cheese. Writing’s cheese is far more vague, can strike weeks after you’ve done your madcap tapdance on the keyboard, or may never be given to you at all.
Therefore, I propose WRITING ACHIEVEMENTS! They improve your Writer Score and make you feel good about the endless hours and emotion poured into your word processor for little to no real benefit. For instance, here’s a list of them I’ve unlocked!
- FIRST STEP INTO A WIDER WORLD (100pts): Write a full-length novel that is not anime fanfiction.
- ABANDON SHIP (20pts): Ditch a project partway through in favor of something better.
- NOVEMBER HAS COME (200pts): Write 40,000 words in November, because for some goddamn reason NaNoWriMo has to coincide with holidays, relatives coming in, work crunch periods, and new game releases.
- TREE MURDERER (100pts): Publish a book on actual, factual paper.
- ANY DAY NOW (5pts): Refresh your blog comment tracker ten times in one day, hoping for some sign that people are reading your work.
- KICKSTART MY HEART (75pts): Launch and complete a successful Kickstarter.
- KICKSTALL FOR TIME (5pts): Add in so many stretch goals that you still haven’t been able to complete all of them.
- I AM MY OWN PATRON (25pts): Spend so much on commissioned art and proofreading that it takes two-plus years of trickling book sales to actually break even.
- MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (50pts): Inspire someone to write fanfic based on your writing.
- THE FEDORA INVASION (25pts): Be linked to on Reddit, causing a swarm of incoming potential readers.
- SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (25pts): Get the attention of a far more popular writer and pick up dozens of new readers as a result.
…and here are a few I wouldn’t mind unlocking in the future.
- THE SOCIAL MEDIA DREAM (1000pts): Achieve the fabled ‘One Thousand True Fans’ core that supposedly snowballs you into a major following.
- STICK FIGURE THEATER (200pts): Have as much daily commenting and interaction with fans as a webcomic about fart jokes slapped together in MS Paint.
- CREAMY LEMON (25pts): Inspire someone to invoke Rule 34 based on your writing. Without bribing them.
- THE GOLDEN CALF (300pts): Get noticed by one of your favorite authors of all time, without that notice coming in the form of being served legal papers.
- TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT (2000pts): Evolve your expensive vanity hobby into an actual thing you can make an actual living off of.
- DUSTY TRAILS (5pts): Write a full-length novel in secret, shop it around to publishers unsuccessfully, waste a year of your life, and have it be found after your death in a desk drawer in the attic.
- YOU’RE GONNA BE A STAR (10000pts): Get noticed by a bigtime publishing industry agent, get signed to a five book deal, make a million off your first release, get writer’s block, drink heavily, lawyers come out to feed, die broke and penniless while off your meds and ranting in your underwear about the government to a stray dog who then bites you and you get rabies and die.
…and one I THINK I’ve unlocked, but there’s no real way to be sure.
- MAKING A DIFFERENCE (50000pts): Someone in a dark place finds your writing, reads it, and it brings them comfort in an hour of need.
So, a mix of silly and serious. That’s writing, really; you have ambitions, but tempered in reality. Ego and a need for attention, but self-effaced in a desperate attempt not to look like a heel. Big dreams, but grounded hard by practicality. In the end you want your work to be read, and you want it to make an impact on lives… but you also want to justify the time you sank into it, but you also know money isn’t really the point, but you also need to eat food, but… agh.
It’s a crazy mix of goals and desires. Maybe treating it like a video game will make a few of those goals seem like they’re actually within reach. At the very least, it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.