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Sesquipedalian loquaciousness

Fun fact: the plot to the 6th and final chapter of Mermaid Liaisons – its final 20% or less – was originally meant to be the plot to the whole game.

It just turned out that in order to provide context to what the player does in chapter 6, I ended up needing to write 5 chapters of setup: much longer than the actual events of ch6 themselves. So I've had to shift the focus somewhat.

I think that the plot to chapter 6 is rather fun, and people will enjoy playing it. But it's a little different to the way things have been up till then, and it's possible some players might get rather caught by surprise.

I mentioned this Fun Fact to Rachael, and she rolled her eyes at me and said "You and I really have opposite problems when we're writing, don't we?" It's true. In NaNoWriMo, I have a strong tendency to make my story's plot go rather over 50000 words, even when I'm aware of this and trying to avoid it. I kept having to simplify my story, remove plot points, and move more quickly through scenes than I'd like to, in order to have a chance of fitting the story into the 50000 words. Rachael has the opposite problem: her stories come out shorter than she'd like, and she always has to scramble to find extra plot twists or things to add to get the story up to 50k.

I always just thought this indicated our natural story lengths: when I think of a story it'll naturally be about 70k words, while Rachael's will naturally tend to about 30k. But her pointing out the comparison with Mermaid Liaisons makes me think there's something more fundamental going on.

One obvious possibility is that I'm too inclined to write scenes that aren't necessary and should be cut. I think there's a bit of truth to that, but that's not the primary issue here. There'll certainly be times when I'll find a scene that's necessary as a linking scene, to get the characters from A to B or to give them some information they and the reader/player need, but would be dull as it is. I do rather enjoy taking a scene like that and finding a way to do it in an interesting way, to add tension or conflict or a different motive for some other character: turning a scene from something necessary-but-undesirable into something that actively contributes to the work.

My guess is that this is what I do quite a lot, and this is why my stories always need longer to get where they're going than I expect: because there are linking scenes that I feel are necessary to avoid plot holes, and I have a drive to make even those linking scenes interesting and valuable enough to earn their place in the final piece.

On a different topic: my previous post may have confused some people. It's a CiSRA-style puzzle: a puzzle where part of the puzzle is to figure out what to do. The solution will be a word or short phrase. You can see the same puzzle in a different presentation on its page on Puzzle Bunny, which is also where you can see if your solution is correct (or just ask me).

This is the 20th such puzzle I've created. You can see them all on Puzzle Bunny. Some more examples of this kind of puzzle (that may be more approachable than some) are VM.1 Eyes of the Animals, AC.3 Weakening, AC.7 Inspection, qq.18 In Pieces or qq.10 Fact Or Fiction.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
And now I spent all night trying to do puzzles on puzzle bunny, and mostly failing :)
Mar. 12th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
I noticed :)

I suggest going for the ones with the lowest difficulty ratings (e.g. maybe this one, and also not feeling bad if you can't solve many on your own, because we solved a lot of them as a team.

Also, have you looked at any of the official CiSRA puzzles? The ones from previous years have worked solutions, which might be helpful for practice/calibration if you haven't seen this style of puzzle before.
Mar. 12th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, meant to add: it looks like you've been spending a lot of time on "Favourites", which Alex and I both felt was worded a bit misleadingly or confusingly, after we eventually solved it. So it might not be the best one to start with.
Jun. 25th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Is this coming anytime soon? :'(
Jul. 16th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Update?
I just posted this on the development thread. Further updates will be posted there.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )