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MoonHunter Sayeth 20171101

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Feed the Beast!
Remember, creativity is a skill you can learn and improve.

You hear it all the time (or read it on a board)....
I suck at making up worlds
I can't create places
I can't come up with interesting adventure.

My response has been two fold. "How much have you practiced doing it?" and "How much work have you put into doing it?"

JK Rowling says it well
The muse works for you. You don’t write at her beck and call—you train her to show up when you’re writing.

I am a big advocate of practice doing it. Sure you will be less than stellar in the beginning. You are whenever you start a skill. Did you fall when you learned to ride a bike? Did you fail at shading things properly when learning to draw? What were your grades in Math when you were just learning a skill process when compared to after you master it? How many essays have you written and how many of those before you got good at it? Do it once or twice and think it will be great? I have news for you, probably not.

To use the first problem, some people give up after a world or two. Try again and again until you get a dozen or a few dozen under your belt. You think all of mine in the beginning were great? Nope, interesting maybe, but not great settings. Every time you make a setting (character, adventure, location, etc), you learn something new about the process; how to present it, what is important, good formatting, how to paragraph effectively, and how to write it so it makes sense. You know what you want. You just have to learn to express it. Once you have done it good number of times, then we should talk about you can't do it.

It is normal at this point to say something like, "Hey Moonhunter... I am not you. I don't have ideas just dripping off me to fill up all those 101 and submissions."

That is actually my cue to smile and go on to my second point.

I have all these ideas because I work at having them. It is work, of sorts. It is not just magic (though on a rare occasion, it is), it is work. Lots of work. Lots of time doing this "work". It is work feeding the beast that is my muse. You have to feed it material to work with.

Again, going back to the first comment. I feed it stories that have worlds. I read a wide variety of game settings. I feed it articles and time in front of the TV about history, ecology, animals, and other "trivia". Fifteen minutes of a show on volcanism and geysers can help you make your world more detailed and realistic. I carefully watch movies or TV shows and pick up on settings/ world presentation that the writer has done. I might actually read a real book about it or two (Like The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England, Connections, or a kid’s book on a historical period (I push kid’s books as they are fast and easy to take in)). When I am in world creation mode, I keep a steady diet of all this media. When I sit down to write, I have a bunch of stuff floating around in my head... out of this primordial idea soup... emerges bits and pieces I can put together that becomes a creative presentation of a setting (or something in a setting).

Writers must read. Artists must look at art. Gamers must consume even more because we combine writing, acting, movie/tv, and background material.

Keep feeding The Beast... keep your creativity stoked and your mind on the subject. When I am running a super hero RPG, I am binge reading every comic I own (that fits the style of the chronicle I am running). So when I am running most of my games, that is every X-men from 96 (first run) on for about 10 years, Teen Titans back in the 80s-90s on for quick bit, Satellite Era JLA, and Avengers from 100 to 200. Once I have my core bingeing done, I might branch out into other things... some Spiderman, some Flash, a little Fantastic Four, and maybe some of the fun indies. If I am not reading comics or watching video media with superheroes for at least three hours a week, preferably five or more hours a week, it is hard to maintain a proper comic style super hero mindset. For games and genres I am not perfectly fluent in, I might make the minimum bar five hours.

When I am in the mindset, the ideas I need - villains, plots, locations, and useful bits - are there ready for it. If they are not, I know I need to relax and take in some more.

Creativity, your muse, is yours to train (and care and feed).... just like JK Rowling said. You train it with practice doing what you want to do. You feed and care for it by giving it bits and pieces to work with. You might struggle with her in the beginning. Eventually, you learn how to work with her… what process works for you and the muse. Soon The Muse comes when whistle for her (or when you bribe her with coffee and scones). It is a skill process that you learn … and learn how to do it better.


Status Check on Convergence Point
I have two hours to work on cleaning up the BE list and writing a bit more on the system section. Then I will start in on the lifeforms as detailed here.
 
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