Saturday, May 28, 2011

On the Eve of Something Cheap and Sacred

John Green, my favorite author ever, often says in his video blogs that he is always nervous that people won't like his book as he writes it. Which is kind of upsetting and kind of hilarious.

John Michael flipping Green, 3/5 of your books have been New York Times bestsellers and you've won the Michael L. Printz award, the Edgar award, and a literature prize from freaking Germany! Also, you are genius! And hilarious! And brilliant! For serious, what do you have to worry about?!

But on the other hand, if John Green has a right to worry that people will not like his book, than even more-so do I.
I have never released any of my work for a wide audience, and though I believe I've done my best, who's to say that it's something that people will like.

Beta-testing for TCAST has about finished. I'm still figuring out exactly what's going into the bonuses, but the game is on track for a Tuesday (or maybe even earlier) release. And that scares the hell out of me.

I am always embarrassed by anything I've written about a year after I write it. I see flaws like Haley Joel Osment sees dead people. Since I finished the first draft of TCAST over a year ago, I've had the opportunity to edit the hell out of it and try to keep it from falling into my embarrassment ghetto. But despite my efforts, some of it have still fallen that way.

For example, I hate the title. It is ridiculously pretentious and vague. I have no idea what I was thinking when I named it that.
However, the game has a bit of a following around the Lemmasoft forums who know the game by this name. I'm hugely grateful to these people for checking in and asking me questions and sending me encouragement. I feel like if I changed the name I'd confuse and/or lose some of that audience. It'd be like a movie having one name in a trailer and another when the audience got to the theater. "Wait, where'd TCAST go? Oh well, let's go see Kung Fu Panda 2." So the title stays.
That said, I do love the acronym. TCAST, pronounced Tee-cast, is easy to say and awesome. My friend Morhighan, one of the colorists on the game, once said "I always forget what TCAST stands for." Namely because TCAST is a much better and more memorable title than That Cheap and Sacred Thing. Unfortunately, it doesn't really mean anything. (There are no casts in the game... except for the cast of characters.)

But who knows how soon I'm going to see faults in everything else in the game. Six months down the road, I will probably be like "I have no idea what I was thinking" about 90% of the game. Or sooner, depending on how nice the first commenters are.

Nevertheless, I'm ridiculously proud to finally finish it and get it out to the people. I gotta stop hoping that everyone, including me in six months, likes it.
I gotta start hoping that there are people who will enjoy spending an hour playing through TCAST.
I've done my best, and that's all I can do. Now I'm going to stop worrying and surrender my game to you.


Entropy said...

Readin' your old posts, trolololo...

I realize this was quite old, and before you received all of the feedback that you have by now, and I get the feeling you changed your mind about a few things. So I have to ask, do you still hate the name? I still really like it, myself. :D But then, I like vague, and I often like pretentious.

What is it, anyway, with that word? D: I feel like for most writers I know around my age, that's one of their biggest worries, that their work will seem pretentious (or one of their most commonly cited reasons for not liking things that are otherwise well crafted). When did that become such a big terrible thing?

Nonetheless, I feel you. It seems like it's really rare for writers (or creative folks in general, I suppose) to be completely confident and satisfied with what they've made. Probably because whatever work you create can never quite perfectly express the way you had it in your mind?

I go through this all the time with the VN I'm working on. Some days I just look through the script and go "UGH what is this melodramatic skeevy pseudo-philosophical BS" ...and then I give myself time to cool and remind myself that it's MY melodramatic skeevy pseudo-philosophical BS, and so what if people aren't going to like it, I started writing it because I love it so I'm going to finish it because I love it.
(of course, that probably works for me just because I write 100% for fun and have no aspirations of becoming successful or a "good writer")
I also remind myself that most of the things that come out of my mouth are BS anyway.

I'm probably less than half done the project, though, and I'm already terrified that people are going to hate one of the characters, or that people are going to resent the protagonist for some of his choices or resent me for not letting the player have different choices.

carosene said...

I go back and forth on my hatred of the name. XD Like, I like the meaning of it, I like the acronym, and I kind of like the pretentiousness of it... but if someone else came up with it I'd probably hate it. XD Story of my life.

I don't know. o.o I gets it's a kind of alienating your adience by trying to seem intellectualer-and-loftier-than-thou. But I do like smart stuff too... And maybe trying to be smart and getting accused of being pretentious is better than being dumb. o.o

Unless it's purple prose. XD If it's purple prose then I have to slap someone.
("That Cheap and Sacred Thing" is totally purple prose... *curdles*)

KuraQuote: Probably because whatever work you create can never quite perfectly express the way you had it in your mind?

YES. YES. THIS. I have so many awesome ideas that I'm not skilled enough to write. XD

Oh, lol, writing for fun works too. XD
Psht, most of the things that come out of your mouth are not BS. XD I refuse to believe that. If it's BS, it's awesome BS. o.o

Don't be terrified! o.o I believe in you! *salutes*

Entropy said...

Hm. I still kind of just don't get it, calling texts pretentious. ^^; Oh well.

Olololol, purple prose... is something I need to stop doing. XD

Writing purely out of love for you project is a terribly inefficient method, but good for mental health. :3

I think I get really worried about people's responses to my characters because they're so close to me, haha. Tell me I did an awful job of characterization and I can take it; tell me you just hate my character and it hurts like hearing a friend insulted.

Nonetheless... onward to victory!! =w=

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