Tuesday, August 4, 2015

RPGSS advice: Discuss your ideas (but not publicly)

It's been a while since my last blog post. I've been traveling and generally busy with a lot of things, but I'm back and it's time to get cracking again. A new season of RPG Superstar begins soon, so I'll be posting some RPGSS-related advice (mini) articles in the coming weeks.

Back when I was a contestant in RPGSS, and later as a freelancer, I've noticed that one of the best ways to develop your ideas is to discuss them with other people. Naturally, both in RPGSS and freelancing, you cannot discuss your ideas publicly, so it's a good idea to have a "pit crew", a group of trusted people with the right set of skills and enough time to read and comment on your entries. In a blog post last year, Jacob W. Michaels wrote about "cultivating your pit crew", and I strongly recommend reading it for more advice about pit crews.

Pit crews are useful particularly for getting comments and proofreading, but I'd argue that talking to people about the stuff you design helps a lot even if you don't get any feedback from them. As mentioned in my blog post about outlining archetypes, "the process of writing also activates your brain for producing ideas", and I'd argue that talking about your ideas also triggers a similar process in your brain, preparing you for producing new ideas. When you summarize or paraphrase your ideas (which is what happens when you talk about something you've written), you inevitably find new ways of looking at what you're designing and reveal ideas you didn't know you had.

Case in point, a few months back I was assigned to design a few archetypes. The developer asked me to pitch my ideas before I started working, but at that point I didn't have any solid ideas and was staring at a blank email. I had to force myself to write down all the ideas I had come up with, but the more I wrote, the more ideas popped into my head, and in the end, I had four very well detailed concepts outlined for the archetypes. When I actually started writing the archetypes, it was fairly easy to fully flesh out the ideas.

So, start writing down your ideas, get yourself a pit crew, and start discussing your ideas! Good luck!

1 comment :

  1. Agreed. I do that with my local pit crew and gaming buddies on a regular basis. It's fun, too. Since I started writing designs more formally (since RPGSS 14), I find discussing items, monsters, encounters, etc., equally as enjoyable as playing and gm'ing.


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