… by doing something stupid like trying to write a novel in a month. Yeah!
It’s not going to end in tears, is it? Please, tell me it’s not going to end in tears. Ah, don’t worry, I know you can’t lie to me. It’s definitely going to end in tears.
November is National Novel Writing Month, apparently. Some people are going to be writing novels over the course of the month. For funzies. Totes.
This Desert Place
Yeah, you know the one — the Warcraft III map originally known as Brownscape: Torment (don’t laugh… or do), that was downgraded to a text adventure, is going to just give up and be a novel.
I did give it a really good shot, honestly. But the level of interactivity wasn’t there, even as a text adventure. I’m sad to say, but This Desert Place is just too much of a solid story these days. No interactivity, no side quests — screw this, let’s just write the damn thing.
So I saw a few notes on WordPress about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) coming up, so it seemed like a good opportunity to cast aside all those delusions of grandeur and get tore in to a big glistening meaty chunk of words. The target is 50,000 of them; seeing as I tend to write about a thousand words a week in these here blog entries, I reckon I can up my game and make the grade.
(I find it interesting that there is a word-count target. It feels a bit like a lines-of-code metric and those are hardly indicative of quality, especially when any writing advice I’ve ever seen has said “keep it trim”. I think I disagree with this advice on the whole, though, so I’m not saying anything. It’s just interesting.)
But Aren’t You…?
Yes, I’ve already got another novelisation project on the go, you’re absolutely right. But that’s actually a trilogy, and it’s still entrenched in the planning phase (currently beefing up the first book, When the Freedom Slips Away, thank you for asking). Maybe it’s time to stop planning, grab the bull by the horns, and actually produce something.
It’s not without precedent, children. I once dedicated an uninterrupted day to turning my sci-fi action-adventure Project Y4 into a multiplayer deathmatch arena. Why not do the same thing to Brownscape: Torment over the course of a month? How hard can it be? You know how much crap I talk in the team chatroom/on the Twottters/out loud all day, it’ll be a piece of cake to make a 1,667-words-per-day average. Quantity over quality, that’s me.
I guess my only worry is that there might not actually be 50,000 words in This Desert Place; there are plenty of facets to the story, and plenty of trials and tribulations and mystery to explore, but how can i predict how many words will guide you through them so early on? And then there’s that whole multiple-endings thing I keep riding back to in all my projects — this time, there are only two, but will both count towards the total (in a choose-your-own-adventure-style extravaganza) or do I have to pick one and roll with it?
Well, it’s going to happen and I’ll finish it in some form or I’ll fail miserably. Either way, it should be worth watching. The descriptor “car crash television” springs to mind, but when have I ever shied away from making a fool of myself?
What’s the Story?
For the uninitiated, This Desert Place is the story of a dying civilisation that is confined to a single oasis in the middle of a vast desert. Isolated from all but the occasional merchant caravans and foolhardy travellers, it is a stagnant place. One native with the spark of curiosity once delved too deeply into arts forbidden by his society and was exiled for it — forced to live on the edge of the oasis and denied entry to the town itself, he finally meets two outsiders who might be able to help him get back in… and unravel the dark secrets that lie beneath.
To get a feel for the mood of the piece, have a gander at the atmospheric intro sequence that is the only truly complete part of the original project. My only regret at making this a wordy escapade is that I won’t be able to use it.