Monday, May 19, 2014

What the Hell am I doing?

I'm having one of those months where I'm questioning everything I'm doing. Whether this is my writing, drawing, or even the day-job, I just keep coming back to wondering if I'm doing the right thing.

For the last month, the day-job has taken up 90% of my waking time (as usual), with my lunch hours being spent hiding in the public library or coffee shops working on the second draft of the WILD novel that I completed as part of NaNoWriMo a couple of Novembers ago.

I'd been reading novels before going to sleep, books that had dreams as subject, and I've been mostly frustrated that they're not what I've been looking for. First up was Dream London by Tony Ballantyne. It was certainly cool, well written and very dreamlike. There were some particularly cool moments involving people strangely queuing up to look at the bottom of a hole like some tourist attraction. Looking through the strange manhole size hole at the bottom of this pit the viewer can see another landscape far below, as if looking through a gap in the clouds, a hole in reality to another world below. All in all, very smart, but I just didn't like the lead character - he was an archaic "Flashman-esque" womanising scoundrel, and not what I'd want from a lead character.

The next on my reading list was the "Wake" series by Lisa McMann - (Wake / Fade / Gone). Sure, it's a teen fiction title, but never let that put you off of a good book! This one featured a teenage girl, Janie, who is pulled into other people's dreams if they fall asleep in close proximity. This makes things tricky when you're in high school and people keep falling asleep in class. She learns to use her ability to help people overcome their recurring nightmares, and starts working for the police department, going into the dreams of suspects to see if they're guilty of crimes.

The first of the trilogy was good (Wake), the second okay (Fade) which focussed on the unsavoury topic of trying to expose a sexual predator in school, whereas the third (Gone) is quite depressing as Janie discovers the side effects of her ability and must make a choice between using it, or living a shortened life in seclusion.

I've heard that they've optioned the Wake series as a movie, starring Miley Cyrus, which sounds like an awful choice - Wake would work pretty well as a supernatural police procedural TV series, maybe not as a movie, but I wait to be proven wrong.

But neither of these filled the desire for Inception. I guess that's all I really wanted from a book as Inception part 2. Maybe I should just try reading Paprika again. That's kinda why I wanted to write the novel (sorry, novels) that form WILD's backstory. I wanted to explore the reasons why Carter created the dreamshare device, and the emotional progression as he learns to communicate with his comatose daughter, and puts family before the billion-dollar tech company he spent his life building.

Just creating the plot, and the backstory has helped form the universe of the game, and has inspired the images on the WILD Tarot that has become an integral part of the game system.

However, the more I think about the book, and the second draft, the more I question my abilities in writing fiction - I mean, I've dabbled in fiction before but I'm a game designer. I write like bloomin' stereo instructions.

The other options would be to take the story (which I have mostly plotted out in my head) and script it as a comic (which would be okay if only I could actually draw worth a damn) or as a script for TV (who would even look at it, it's not like I can show off my screenwriting skills, especially no one can see my previous screenwriting work).

Maybe I should just get back to the game?

I thought about what needs to be done for it, and it's not horrific, but it's still a long way off. It really is a labour of love. I guess what I need to do is go through everything I've done and start working out what needs changing and writing.

Part of the roughs of the cover image for WILD. (c) Autocratik 2014
I even thought about getting the cover sorted - paying for it to be done. This way I'd have to get the game finished, otherwise I'd have wasted my money paying a professional artist to produce a cover. I have a very definite idea of what I want the cover to look like, so it'll probably be rubbish. I wanted it to be a flip cover for front and back, with the images merging in the middle at the spine - dreamers joined in a shared world. I tried to draw a version of the idea myself, but then I remembered I can't draw... Maybe soon...

So there you have it, that's my current state - so many ideas, no time to actually do it.

Let's break it down -

Things I want to do with WILD:

  • Finish writing the game
  • Pretty artwork - David Despau meets Windsor McCay
  • Cool layout - if House of Leaves was an RPG book, that'd be it... Like 2nd Ed KULT.
  • Build a prop version of the ALICE headset and the Dreamshare Device.
  • Make a video trailer for the game, fake company infomercials for the product as well.
  • Finish the novels, all three of them. 
  • Graphic novels?
If only I had the time... And that's before I even think about the ideas I've had for how a Harry Potter RPG would work...