Reviewed [TWFNE] Week 210: Simmering Temple - Feedback

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Staff member
Feb 18, 2008
Total Wordcount: 13,507

Let that number sink in for a minute. Just looking at it makes you want to avoid reading this, right? At best, you'd skim through it, because you know, especially those of us who wrote in it, that there's not 13,507 words worth of content in here. That's more than long enough to be called a novelette. It's three quarters of a novella, and one third of a novel.

Moon (writing 2 characters): 3876
Myst (writing 1 character): WC Never (~2653)
Will (writing 1 character): 2487
Fin (setting scene and writing all enemies): 2481
Griff (writing 1 character): 2010

Based on narrative responsibility, you'd expect the 'DM' of the scenario to have the highest individual wordcount. As the DM, you're setting the scenario, acting with NPCs, and reacting to all of the player's turns to some degree. Even if you avoid being verbose, having to respond to the actions of five characters adds up. It's why being a DM in an RP scenario can be very difficult.

The rest of us writing our characters, should also write less in each turn, to account for the narrative responsibility of the given moment. We should be writing a story more than playing an RPG. I'm guilty of this, too, going turn by turn, action by action, but from a reader's perspective, we're focusing on these little fights with chaff as if they have narrative weight and ultimately... they don't. A reader isn't going to care that much whether Keydis punches or stabs a faceless skeleton, or if Diamantus shoots three times or four; they're going to want to know that Keydis is relentless like a hammer on anvil, Diamantus is a sharp shooter nailing the vital spots, Aeria is measured and precise with her halbard, and Aelflead is a berserker. Turn limits and restrictions are really meant for player-vs-player scenarios and boss fights, and not all of them.

Even putting the turn limits aside, as writers we should also be cognizant of how many of us there are. If five of us all write a lot every turn, then the audience has to read five times "a lot." That's fine if "five times a lot" happens, but it usually doesn't. If one person wants to have a character moment -- dealing with personal trauma -- the rest of us should step back a bit so their development can take root, shine through. Let our turns highlight theirs instead of drowning it out in a constant flood of words.

I'm using words like 'we' and 'our' because I'm just as guilty in this collab as anyone else. I read the full 13,507 words straight through after this finished and, I'll be honest, I wouldn't ask anyone to read this as it is. It has nothing to do with the quality of individual turns or the skill of individual writers, because the talent here is high and the errors are few. However, we weren't writing together.

Maybe we can do better in the next part. I think for that to happen we'd have to actually communicate with one another, figure out what we each want to accomplish besides reaching the next check point. It's been a pleasure writing with you all, and I don't want to call this off or say this is irrecoverable. Let's just rock the rest of this temple.


Writing Week is 249

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