Strange damn thing happened to me today–this morning, actually. Very early in the morning, to be precise, while my coffee was still hot and I was nibbling on some fresh bread.
I was staring at my screen, trying to figure out what I was going to say, and I had this idea to do a rant about some asshole Republican politician (and, yes, I understand when one says or writes “Republican” the word “asshole” is almost always implied) and so I started digging in, getting some facts and figures to kind of back us said rant. And I kept at it, getting more and more data and getting my prose down right and . . ..
And about 800 words into said rant I looked at the screen, screwed up my face while mumbling, “Fuck it,” and killed the post.
Probably better than most people I know when something doesn’t feel “just right”. I get it in my writing all the time: I’ll be 2000 words into a story and then, like that, it don’t interest me and I end up filing it way, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for months, sometimes until the End of Forever.
But this . . . this post was akin to finding that damn cat Church from the novel “Pet Cemetery” creeping about your writing space, and the moment you lay eyes upon it you know that zombie furball is totally wrong, but instead of ignoring the little bastard and allowing it to continue wandering about the house as if having a zombie kitty up in the joint is pretty common, you instead kill it with a Mythbusters-worthy homemade flamethrower.
As much as I love lambasting Conservaturds, the post was wrong. It didn’t feel real, there was no life–and, most importantly, there was no voice. It didn’t sound like me, at least not the me these days. Maybe the me of the days of discos and binge drinking and blacking out in a woman’s restroom, but not like me today.
So I killed it. But not with fire, ’cause I need my computer. No, I just closed the tab, moved on to do other things, and returned to the here, to the now, to write this when it seemed like there was something to say.
It was a strange feeling to look at something and think, “This damn thing isn’t working, nope, not at all.” And it makes me think about something else that happened last night:
I’ve been moderating and administering a game board, and had a player come on and ask to have their account removed. Sure, no problem, I say. You’re not enjoying yourself, I’ll take care of it. Now, the truth of the matter was that I was right on the edge of kicking the player anyway because . . . well, take your pick: they were disruptive, they rubbed everyone wrong, they refused to go along with the in-world story, they messed things up for the sake, it would seem, of messing things up.
In the course of their “leaving” they spent about an hour picking my brain, wanting to know how I came up with characters and what their history was and what I thought of their character arc . . . all leading me to think the real reason they were there was to rip-off stuff for another game. Which is fine; you may steal my idea, but you can’t steal the character.
The thing is their character wasn’t that bad, but it needed a lot of refinement; and by “a lot” I mean they had to ditch their idiotic story line (which I told them didn’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny if you followed world canon) and went with something different–like what I’d come up with. Of course I didn’t tell them what that was: I know when I’m being pumped for ideas, and those don’t come free.
So, they are gone, and with them goes their bad character. It needed to go; it didn’t fit, it never did. Like Church it needed to be killed with fire, and killed hard.
Did I say the character is gone? Maybe what I should say is their version of the character is gone, but the insanity that comes from being Nutty NPC 2.0 remains. And, after play-testing the “new” character with another player, works a hell of a lot better than ever before.
(And before you go, “Why didn’t you just tell the other player how to change make their character better?”–wasn’t going to happen, not with this player. They didn’t read anything on the board; they didn’t bother with rules; and they damn sure never took any advice. And after they spent an hour screwing up interaction with another player that resulted in all those posts needing to be removed, their reaction was little more than a fake, “Oops, my bad” and a total ignoring of any advice about how to prevent that from happening in the future. I’ll help those who make genuine mistakes: I don’t help assholes who look to piss in the soup at every opportunity.)
My last post was like that character: it was wrong, it felt forced and bereft of an actual voice, and it needed something else.
It needed this.
Wow. I feel like I’ve learned something. And that’s a good feeling.