Saturday, January 17, 2009

The trials and tribulations of co-op writing.

I'm a bit of an amatuer writer. (Ok, you all can stop laughing now, I wasn't talking about this blog.)

I like writing fiction. I started back in highschool with Star Wars Simms online, and have only expanded from there. I've written sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and even tried techno-thriller a time or two.

Sci-fi though is my bread and butter, and on occasion I'll get an idea and ontop of writing the whole thing stem to stern completely (which is a feat in and of itself) will do it solo. This isn't frequent though, and the reason is that I find that co-op writing (where there are at least two authors, handling different veiw points and characters) makes the whole task more fun, and often can feel more alive. (Someone writing a character reacting to something I've just written might come up with a completely different idea then I had had)

There are a lot of co-op writing 'Simm's' out there, though I tend to gravitate towards Star Trek ones. I had my fill of Star Wars early on, and Star Trek has enough structure and 'cannon' that pretty much everyone can be familar with whats going on without having to be a complete Trekkie. It can be a lot of fun - you create a character, join a ship - and assist in writing out an adventure, not unlike watching an episode of Trek on TV.

The down side is that people are people - and writers block happens to all of us. If the ship is waiting on a pivital piece of action of dialogue to continue, and the person who's supposed to provide it disappears, can't come up with anything to write, or just doesn't care - an entire cadre of writers can suddenly find themselves with nothing to write.

There is nothing worse then haveing done some forward writing, and not being able to share it.

I've been the guy with writers block just as often as I've been the guy I am now - waiting for other people to act so I can move on. Such things happen, but it is frustrating. I currently write for three ships. The USS Lancelot, the USS Camelot and the USS Kyushu - which is two more then I usually do, and one more then my usual upper limit. (I like to get very invovled in my ships, so keeping track of more then 2 seperate story lines can be hard at times.)

Of the three I'm probably most attached to my character on the Lance. I play the Chief Operations Officer, and I like the ship, and some of the things I have planned out for character development, and even some possible mission planning. But the Lance feels like a ship on her last legs. Posting as slowed to below a crawl and the ship as a while, while it might have a few small things to do, is waiting for the next big post. But I don't know if that will be enough of a shot in the arm or not. It'll be too bad too, if thats the case - finding a slot elsewhere in the fleet where my Lance character would fit will be hard.

My character on the Cam is a fighter pilot, and a Squadron Commander. My take on Star Trek fighters (not unlike a lot of Star Trek concepts itself (I don't believe in a utopian future where people just do things for the betterment of mankind)) is a little different, but its been a fun exploration - and I really like the story we're penning now - even if some of it is hard to write (Its not a very light hearted tale).

And then we have the Ky, my newest ship, and the one I'm still trying to find my legs on. I'm playing the Chief of Security, something I've *never* done. I always play Ops, or a Pilot of some sort. Securty is new, as is the character design. But I like my Russian hardnose - and there are some interesting developments on her as well that I'm looking forward to.

Since the second week of the new year came around I've found myself bubbling with ideas, and things to write -while most people are still shaking off that holiday funk. Its been frustrating, and I hope it starts to change. I gotta take advantage of this zing of energy while I can :)

-Jon

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