Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The funny thing about writing...

People may or may not know this about me, but I love playing Halo. I'm a big fan (right up until the whole not getting split screen time, 343!). When I first started playing, I had also been playing a game called Fable. Now, I LOVE Fable, and I LOVE Halo.

But these two games have rapidly diverging systems.

With Fable, you get to spend your time developing how you level your character, so at the end, you are a uniquley you version of yourself. As you level, the challenges become less challenging because you become more powerful. Miss a mission early in the game and it's a cake walk later.

See, in Halo, you never level up. Never. You occassionally get cooler more badass toys, but you never level up.

The game never makes your character better. The difficulty never gets easier. In fact, the game doesn't really change (some levels are stupid easy, and some levels are ridiculously hard). But the truth is, the only thing that gets better in playing Halo is the player. The game still requires that you make good choices in the moment and that you stick to proven tactics until an elite with a force sword warms your spine through your bellybutton.

Writing is a lot more like Halo.

I used to think it was more like Fable, but it's clear to me that's not how it works. You can "level up" as a writer, but that's not going to save you from reaching into the cliche chum bucket. it's not going to help you rid your work of purple prose. Sometimes, the goal of an edit is to make it to the next save point before you die, so the next time you die, you're a little closer to the target.

One big frustrating thing about writing is that you can have success that's followed by not success. You can be rejected after you've "published well." It's pretty terrifying, but that's just the way it is, so maybe it's time to get back out there and write!

For those of you interested in winning a free ecopy of Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon, pay attention: all next month there will be opportunities to win my ebook as I go around celebrating the release of my second book Of Pens and Swords!


  1. This is so true. The key is to never compare yourself to yourself when it comes to writing, just strive to be the best you can be at that moment.

  2. Yup. Such is the case in business period. That is, until you find an in and your market share.

  3. That may be one of the best ways to describe it that I've ever heard.

  4. oooh, this is a very great and apt metaphor. Also, now I want to play Halo AND fable

  5. I like that concept: "leveling up as a writer." I need a magic potion to give me enough experience points to level up my writing skills.

  6. I like this idea, but I think there are different aspects of it. I know I'm a better writer than I used to be, but that doesn't mean that writing is any easier or that I'll be any more successful. I don't know if there's a good video game comparison for that. >_<


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