Edit and revise, edit and revise. I’ve managed to trim about 20,000 unnecessary words off of this thing. I guess that’s the problem with my “word vomit” approach to drafting: it’s messy.
I’ve been playing through a pair of my favorite games: Baldur’s Gate I and II for PC. These RPGs were groundbreaking in their day, and with the updated graphics in the rerelease, they hold up well. The characters are still funny, the gameplay is still frustrating and rewarding, and the world feels fleshed out in a way that a lot of modern RPGs fail to achieve. I think part of the issue is the “railroad” approach that a lot of modern games follow: the player is dragged along on a series of activities, and as the player completes watch activity, they are brought to the next one, with little or no opportunities to explore the world around them. These games don’t do that; there is a linear plot, but the speed (and in some cases, the order) of this plot assumption is entirely up to the player. This does lead to some issues regarding immersion (you can be told that something is urgent and then spend two in-game years waltzing around the wilderness in search of wolf pelts for some sweet cash with no penalties), but overall the effect is one of wonder as you wander from locale to locale, some of which seem to exist for no other reason than for you to show up and try to find secrets. They’re really fun games still, twenty years later, and I encourage anyone with an interest in the genre to pick these up and play them all the way through.
Write your story!
-J. E. Ayers
Jeff Ayers writes books that are pretty good.