Thursday, September 8, 2011

Writing Shit

My sister recently wandered through craigslist looking for people starting bands. She found that overwhelmingly, the people posting were singers looking for people to play instruments.

The first day you pick up a guitar, you know you can't play Slash's solos in "Sweet Child O' Mine." But it's not hard to sing along with Axl's voice. "Woaaaaaaaaohoh, sweet child o' mine!" And we all know how pristine Axl's voice is. It's not hard to out sing him on anything. Check it for reference.

My point is, it's easy to convince yourself that you're a good singer even though you know nothing about singing. A lot of people can't hear the difference between Axl's million dollar howl and their own voice.

There's a similar problem with writing. Basic grammar was beaten into your head by like, fifth grade. At any point afterwards any person can have an idea for a cool story, boot up a computer and write something down, assuring themselves that they are "writing properly."

But what they don't know is they are piece of shit writer.

I'm also a piece of shit writer, by the way.

I have the same professor for two classes this semester. He started both classes by firstly, telling you that cell phones are for weaklings and if he catches you with one he will no longer respect you as a writer. Then he goes on to tell you that you write like shit.

And he's right.

Not about the cell phones, I think that's his personal hang-up after too many kids texted in his class. But he's the kind of teacher who like, opens his mouth, and he just says a couple of sentences, and I'm rushing to write them down because OH MY GOD that is so brilliant and obvious why didn't I think of that this changes my entire relationship with my writing. Everything I wrote before now was shit. And I will probably write more shit, because writing isn't just words on a page. Writing good stuff is hard.

What I'm trying to say is, writing fiction is not something that you can do because you learned grammar in grade school. Yes, a lot of fiction writers are self-taught, but so are a lot of guitar players, and a lot of shit came out of the guitar before they started sounding good. Fiction is it's own craft, and it needs to be learned. Find your local community college and sign up for a course. Go in willing to listen to the instructor. Read books on how to write fiction, and take them seriously. And when you get back criticism in the visual novel community, listen. Even if it's unfairly harsh, try to figure out where they're coming from and if there is a legitimate problem. This is an amateur community, no matter how the moderators struggle we don't have the right to kind criticism. But be willing to listen and admit that your darling work is capable of containing legitimate problems.
Excuse me while I get down from my soapbox.

By the way, the Visual Novel Festival is underway, and TCAST is in the running! Part of the festival is people review the submitted games. TCAST got a ton of reviews that were very interesting and a lot of fun to read. They're all pretty spoilery, so if you haven't played TCAST first, don't read them! Scroll up and click it's link under "Play Some Games!" But if you've read TCAST, check 'em out!

Hiddenwings07's Pretty Purple Review

SachixAkechi's Flashy Review

AngelofStar's Blue Butterfly Review

SilentWolfie's Review... with Jude fansketch! o.o

Also, the judges posted some of their feedback in the comments of the game's posting:

TCAST Link and Judge Reviews

Yeah... so one of the judges was pretty hard on TCAST. He (I'm guessing it's a he as he identifies himself as someone outside of the game's demographic. Which is ridiculous, because girls don't dismiss games for guys that way, but that's a rant for another day.) is one of the few people to say he disliked the plot, which is kind of scary because most feedback I get says that the plot is the strongest element. The problem I have with his critique is he's pretty much right about everything. That sucks. I kind of want to find out who he is so I can make him beta-test my next game. Anywho. He doesn't seem to come down as hard on any of the other games, (And he loves SilentWolfie's "Reverie" XD) so I don't think I have a chance of winning, but oh well, I'll get over it. ^-^;;

Alright, I got non-shit to write, so I'm gonna go do that.

Oh yeah, by the way, I totally chose my next Voldemort Visual Novel. ;3 It, uh, wasn't on the list. Hope it'll be non-shit!


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