Friday, March 22, 2013

My Process, Part Deux

Lately it seems the blog has lost a bit of focus and direction. I appear to have several different threads going on at the same time, and it might be confusing to you, the reader (*thump*thump* Hello? Is this thing on?). As if I have readers.

I’m still getting hits for that Natalie Portman “hole in the middle of her midriff” stunt from awhile back. I can’t actually call it what it is, because the number one search term for finding my blog is “navel” or “belly button.” The more I use those words in association with that person’s name, the higher I go on Google’s search results. I don’t want to be known for her belly button (I would, however, like to know her belly button. Personally.).

My point is, you all don’t seem to be reading this blog anyway. The underwhelming support for Sara Bakay is proof of that. So I guess I can do what I want. I might just start uploading pics of that grumpy cat and call it a day. I'd upload pics of Sara's navel, but angels don't have those (you just know I'm going to pay for this somehow, don't you?). 

What was I saying?

Oh yes. Focus.

I seem to be providing general opinions about what RPGs should be, giving advice on how to approach your own writing, talking about some of my own projects, and shilling for Sara. Which sounds like one of those Lifetime movies… Shilling for Sara; watch as a man single-handedly beats his head against a wall for loose change, starring Zac Efron and that chick from that Disney Channel show. You know the one. (*thump*thump* Hello?!) 

I was talking about my own process. That’s it. I started with an overview of what I wanted to do, and was supposed to move on to the next step: answering some questions. I’m going to backtrack a bit, however. If you go to the earlier blog post, you’ll see that I’m planning to write an all-elf RPG setting. Elves are the dominant race on the planet, and they’re locked in a war with more numerous, and seriously-less-sparkly-humans. You can read it here. Go head. I’ll wait.

Back now?

No, a picture of Ms. Portman’s sewn up umbilical hole did not magically appear here while you were gone. Sorry.

As I said, I was going to go to my notebook and start making notes. This is a long list of everything that I can think of on the subject. I call it “wool-gathering.” Just sit and write. Make a list. Cross stuff off. Add stuff. I started this process with Paul (Hi, Paul. I know you like the shout-out) for his game setting. My good friend, Jim Pinto (you may have heard of him. No? Doesn’t surprise me.) considers this an important part of the creative process. Once we were working on something together, and I started to draft an outline; he rightly pointed out that this was the brainstorming stage, and outlining was a right brain thing (or is it left-brain? I don’t know brains).

So, forthwith, here are some of my notes on “Untitled Elf Game”:
  1. Elves are immortal. As Octavia Butler pointed out in her novel Wild Seed, there really are two kinds of immortality. Living forever and being un-killable. So my elves live forever, unless something violently and aggressively intercedes. You can be an elf scholar or chef, and you’ll live forever. Elf warriors, however, have a much shorter lifespan.
  2. If Highlander teaches us anything, it’s that immortality would quickly become boring. And also, don’t go to New York City without a really big sword. The elves try to occupy their time with stuff and things. For most of them, this means studying something until there’s nothing left to learn about the subject, or spending 200 years painting a portrait. Shades of Corum and the Vadhagh. Elves are highly cultured and refined.
  3. Elves frequently strive to master whatever catches their fancy, if only to pass the time. This means that when an elf dies, it’s a pretty big deal. Because the race loses a vital piece of culture. Imagine losing Da Vinci, Einstein, and James Joyce all rolled into one person. This has serious implications for whatever skill system I decide to come up with; it’s not like you can make Perform tests when you’re equal to every great actor ever. That would be meaningless.
  4. Elves, however, are also sensualists. If you’re 10,000 years old, going to yet another masquerade is pretty dull. Elves are always looking for something new and different, even if it’s something they’ve forgotten and rediscovered. A new thing is a big deal. 
  5. Which leads me to the major perversion in elf society: Certain elves (notably the player characters) seek out danger – grave danger – in their pursuit of the new and exciting. Much like Bushido was a twisting of the Buddhist concept of reincarnation, some elves believe that dying, and dying gloriously, is the highest honor. They long for what they call a “beautiful death”. Think Sparta and the Samurai.

Quite frankly, I’m going to have to stop there for now. I literally have pages about my elf society. I haven’t even gotten to their dedication to honor and bravery, and glorification of war (Klingons, remember?). Or the major split in elf society – the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Or the shifting alliances within each of the two courts (since elves are bored most of the time, politics and vendetta among the upper classes is commonplace)… I have a lot of ideas.

And if you’ve gotten to this point in the article, it’s time for you to read a bit about Sara Bakay. Sara’s got a fundraiser on IndieGoGo to attend a 6-day conference in New York City (yes, she’s bringing a sword. After all, there can be only one. Hey, I didn’t make up the rules.). This has the possibility of putting her directly in front of casting directors, agents, and other shady Hollywood types. Which will help her career. And you want to do that, because if she does survive The Gathering, she’s going to remember who her friends are…

This ALSO enters you into a contest to win my services as a writer, designer, editor, and production manager for one week, for FREE. If you make any kind of contribution to Sara’s campaign, for as low as $10, you’re entered into a drawing to win me. For one week. For free. To work on your game. 

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