Once again, November is National Novel Writing Month, where the challenge is to start a novel from scratch and attempt churn out 50,000 words by the end of the month.
I’m not doing that.
I did try last year, and while I didn’t make the official target I did break the 40,000 word mark and completed twelve chapters of a fantasy novel by dint of using a week’s annual leave and cancelling my social life for a month. In the ensuing eleven months, I’ve completed exactly one more chapter.
This year I’ve got too much going on at work to even try repeating last year’s feat, so I’ve set myself an alternative target. The aim is to produce 15,000 words, that’s 500 per day, and plough on towards finishing a first draft of By Light And Shadow (the aforementioned fantasy novel). Hopefully, I can find a way of working that lets me produce a steady amount of writing without having to give up my job, my family or all of my gaming time. If I can keep up that level of steady output I can produce first drafts in well under a year, as opposed to my current rate of taking all of eternity. And if I can finish a draft, I can think about polishing and maybe even trying to sell some stories.
Wish me luck. I’m going to need it.
I don’t mean in terms of needing a few more weeks or months of polishing and bug-fixing time, although that never hurts… I’m thinking more about what would have happened if the sequence of MMO launches had been changed and The Old Republic went live in DEcember 2012 instead of December 2011 (apart from producers getting fired for the massive cost over-run a 12 month delay would have incurred, of course).
SWTOR’s biggest selling point apart from the Star Wars IP is the character class story. However, this was something new and strange for some players, and it was clear that there were plenty who saw the story as something to click through and get on with levelling to the endgame… only to find the endgame somewhat disappointing. In the last year, though, we’ve had both The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 doing similar story elements, but not as well. SWTOR coming after them would have been seen as perfecting and polishing the story, rather than pioneering it, and might have earned more appreciation from the comparison.
I also think that SWTOR would have benefited from some other lessons from those two games, particularly with more action-oriented combat, which would fit the lightsaber-wielding classes especially well. However, the “WoW with lightsabers” basic design would have been too well embedded by that stage to rip everything out and re-do. SWTOR 2, however, would do well to consider being closer to “Guild Wars 2 with lightsabers” assuming we don’t get something even closer to the proper Star Wars ‘feel’ to copy from in the interim. On that subject, it’ll be interesting to see what the House of Mouse do as the new masters of LucasArts…