I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

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aliciarune
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I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

#1 Post by aliciarune » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:42 pm

I know this is a weird topic and maybe even bit of a down topic, but I've been wanting to speak my mind about this for a while.

The truth is, I don't feel like I'm smart enough to make a visual novel. I'm doing a good few, and one of them (Reska) is having decent progress, but I feel like I'm not gonna make it. I don't feel like I'm like other devs who seem to do well in organization and making up a team. For me it feels like I'm barely scraping by and at any moment could just drop everything.

I myself am not the smartest person in the world, and am ignorant/naive when it comes to things I've never done. But I do enjoy making visual novels and want to be decent at it. Sadly, it feels like I don't have the brain power to do so. Like I said, I see so many devs progressing even if it's slowly and for me it feels like I'm barely getting anywhere. My writing, to me, isn't the best and is super slow and I get really nervous about whether it's good or not.

Maybe it's lack of confidence or something else, I just don't know, but I envy and admire anyone who can at least get mid through their visual novel even if it's not done.

Still, sorry if this is a bit of a downer topic, but I needed to get this out a bit. If you guys have any advice, anything would be helpful. Thanks so much.

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Re: I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

#2 Post by Mammon » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:01 pm

What you're describing isn't a matter of intelligence but a matter of persistence. And that's a significant detail. If you describe the problem as not being smart enough, you're describing it as a problem you cannot or only with great effort overcome. If you describe it with persistence, as you should because that's what it takes to finish an VN around here, it's not an unbeatable problem rather than the act of not continuing. And if you can tell yourself that the problem lies in no longer working on your VN or losing motivation, at least you'll give yourself a chance to fight your inner demons. Phrase your problems in a way that you can overcome them.

Because no matter how you twist or turn it, finishing a VN is a matter of persistence. It's not smarts, it's about going on when you feel like you can't. That you can't make art as amazing as some examples you see around here, that's talent. It's not a matter of your intelligence, rather than that there are people that have spend much more time and find much more enjoyment in that particular hobby. That you can't write as amazing as other people, that's a matter of perspective. Namely yours, because a writer always doubt the quality of their work (and delivers a poor or bland script if they don't). That you can't organise or build a team as well as others is a matter of you not yet having the experience to know how to organise well (we learn with every mistake we make.) and the social anxiety to recruit people. None of these are skills that you don't have or are related to your intelligence/talent, they're feats of yours that require persistence to obtain or complete.

Just don't forget that the projects you see and hear about the most are the ones that made it, not the many that faded into obscurity because people never released them. Those are much easier to miss and forget about over time. You are not below the average, you just don't see all the people who're performing equal and lesser than you. Like many of us here advise in many cases; never compare yourself to the best games and projects.

And about organisation, with a lot of people it's not really a matter of their skills and intelligence rather than them being more confident about it. (I mean, you don't see their organisation, you hear them talk about it or explain it. Thus, it's a matter of confidence unrelated to the actual value of the organisation.) I myself had a rather terrible organisation during my first project, which increased the project duration by several months. When I talk about my organisation methods I'm not describing what I did right immediately or what I figured out to be the best way with all my fancy smarts, it's the lessons I've learned from the mistakes I made and the months they cost me. So when you make a mistake like that or feel like your organisation is lacking, assuming you're improving it you're just on the road of being one of those well-organised people.
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Re: I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

#3 Post by aliciarune » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:14 pm

Mammon wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:01 pm
What you're describing isn't a matter of intelligence but a matter of persistence. And that's a significant detail. If you describe the problem as not being smart enough, you're describing it as a problem you cannot or only with great effort overcome. If you describe it with persistence, as you should because that's what it takes to finish an VN around here, it's not an unbeatable problem rather than the act of not continuing. And if you can tell yourself that the problem lies in no longer working on your VN or losing motivation, at least you'll give yourself a chance to fight your inner demons. Phrase your problems in a way that you can overcome them.

Because no matter how you twist or turn it, finishing a VN is a matter of persistence. It's not smarts, it's about going on when you feel like you can't. That you can't make art as amazing as some examples you see around here, that's talent. It's not a matter of your intelligence, rather than that there are people that have spend much more time and find much more enjoyment in that particular hobby. That you can't write as amazing as other people, that's a matter of perspective. Namely yours, because a writer always doubt the quality of their work (and delivers a poor or bland script if they don't). That you can't organise or build a team as well as others is a matter of you not yet having the experience to know how to organise well (we learn with every mistake we make.) and the social anxiety to recruit people. None of these are skills that you don't have or are related to your intelligence/talent, they're feats of yours that require persistence to obtain or complete.

Just don't forget that the projects you see and hear about the most are the ones that made it, not the many that faded into obscurity because people never released them. Those are much easier to miss and forget about over time. You are not below the average, you just don't see all the people who're performing equal and lesser than you. Like many of us here advise in many cases; never compare yourself to the best games and projects.

And about organisation, with a lot of people it's not really a matter of their skills and intelligence rather than them being more confident about it. (I mean, you don't see their organisation, you hear them talk about it or explain it. Thus, it's a matter of confidence unrelated to the actual value of the organisation.) I myself had a rather terrible organisation during my first project, which increased the project duration by several months. When I talk about my organisation methods I'm not describing what I did right immediately or what I figured out to be the best way with all my fancy smarts, it's the lessons I've learned from the mistakes I made and the months they cost me. So when you make a mistake like that or feel like your organisation is lacking, assuming you're improving it you're just on the road of being one of those well-organised people.

Hey Mammon, thanks so much for your insight. I think I get what you're saying. Even my sister has told me never to compare projects since it won't do one any good. I guess it's just I feel like over the past year I haven't done much progress and comparing is something I need, which is smart. As for persistence, I do agree that I need more of it, not only for making a visual novel but also things like school.

I do like visual novels, so I know the passion is there. It's just I worry if I have the ability to do it. Even now I worry if the reply is smart enough compared to tours, since it's gonna be a bit short. I guess I just worry if I can do it because even unfinished projects seem to get to a certain point. A positive though is that I haven't given up (and can't due to Reska), so that's a good thing.

I just don't have much confidence in myself with many things. A good example are the forums like lemmesoft and fuwanovel. I'm too afraid to post because I fear I may say something stupid, though I don't mean to. Same can be said with visual novels.

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Re: I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

#4 Post by Mammon » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:42 pm

Even now I worry if the reply is smart enough compared to yours, since it's gonna be a bit short.
That might be a good thing in your eyes, but it's an point of improvement in mine. The longer the post, the less likely that people will read through it because the more of a chore it will be to begin with it. In this case you might think it's better because it's longer, but I can assure you that in many cases it's actually better to make things short and well-summarised. Once again, speaking from the lessons I've learned by making mistakes. In this case, that no one answers posts, recruitments and threads that are this long unless it's written in answer to or for a specific person.

Visual novels that don't make it don't actually have a certain point that they all get to, rather than a point where things get rough in a way that urges the person to stop working on it. Or the point where they get to a part that they don't like doing such as the CGs or coding. Or that they start with new projects resulting in their old ones being forgotten. I don't know exactly what you're thinking off in this case, but it's not exactly a point to strive for.

And fear of saying something stupid is a good thing, it ensures that you don't say something stupid. That's a low bar because this still is the internet, so having just the slightest inkling of self-reflection will help to avoid the problem. Don't worry about posting, just remember that the people you're answering are developers just like you. And from what I've seen quite a bit, many have the same anxiety and problems as you if not greater.
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Re: I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

#5 Post by SundownKid » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:53 pm

"Don't have the brain power" is not really a good way to frame it. More like "need to learn more about X". You can always learn about how to do something if you try hard enough, assuming you are a normal human. There are certainly people with unusually high brain power, but those people tend to go into quantum physics, not making indie games. For most people the only thing differentiating them is how much time they put into learning something. It's also why "nerdy" often corresponds to "poor social skills", you have to sacrifice time developing one thing to get good at something else.

I'm not going to say "don't worry, you can make a great VN if you don't know anything about coding in Renpy, or editing pictures, or writing good stories", because that's just not true. At the same time, there is no "brainpower gate" preventing you from making a game, it can be surpassed by learning more. If your writing isnt the best then find someone who can critique and proofread your work, or make an effort to read more good books to get a feel for good writing.

Also, if you are doing a "few" maybe that's the problem. It's hard enough spending time on a single visual novel let alone several, so that might be why you are progressing overly slowly. You could try putting them all on hold except the one you really want to release.

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Re: I Don't Feel Smart Enough to Make a Visual Novel

#6 Post by HiEv » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:21 pm

aliciarune wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:42 pm
The truth is, I don't feel like I'm smart enough to make a visual novel. I'm doing a good few, and one of them (Reska) is having decent progress, but I feel like I'm not gonna make it. I don't feel like I'm like other devs who seem to do well in organization and making up a team. For me it feels like I'm barely scraping by and at any moment could just drop everything.
Look up "impostor syndrome" some time. Even extremely talented and accomplished artists can feel that way.

That article even notes a study where the authors identified "many high-achieving women (who) tended to believe they were not intelligent, and that they were over-evaluated by others". These were women who were very good at their jobs, but felt that they weren't and felt they didn't deserve the praise they received, despite totally deserving it.

Honestly, the fact that you're afraid of failing or of doing poorly says that you care about what you're doing and you want to do it well. That's far better than the people who think that they're great, thus put in little effort, and have no idea that they're trash because of that.

So, if you can't get rid of your fear, at least realize you're not alone, and let that fear drive you to keep doing better.

Hope that helps! :D

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