Re-writes

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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daijinahito
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Re-writes

#1 Post by daijinahito » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:50 pm

I was interested in you guys and gals out there who've already finished at least one VN script or something similar. How many times did it take y'all to re-write the script before you considered it complete and finalized it? Also, if anyone would like to share the pains involved with adding additional scenes into an already written script, feel free to cry here. I'm very interested to here everyone's stories, if they wish to share them.

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Re: Re-writes

#2 Post by Mistik » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:02 pm

This may work better with small visual novels, but something I've been doing with my last few games is iterative design. I make the game, give it to people, get feedback, give it to other people, get more feedback. It seems to be helping me make better games. Sorry I can't put a number on how many times.

I would say make it the best quality game that you can put effort into in your current state, and then move on and try something new.

That is another game design philosophy, Fail Faster. You make a game, and even if it's bad move on, and learn form it, other than being stuck with the same non motivation filled project for a so long that it stunts you.

Answer: Be finished when you feel that you have a good polished project, or your motivation for the project has ended.

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Re: Re-writes

#3 Post by sasquatchii » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:19 pm

I'm interested to hear what other people have to say on this too!

I'm starting to write my first visual novel, and I'm only a few thousand words in, but I'm really looking forward to just finishing the first draft, and finally being able to edit the hell out of it and make it the best I can before letting other people proof read and critique it :)
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Re: Re-writes

#4 Post by Chocopyro » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:47 pm

daijinahito wrote:
Lets just say I'm on my 3rd revision of my game's outline and I haven't even touched the script. T_T
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Re: Re-writes

#5 Post by Applegate » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:20 pm

Usually what I do is write the story, wait a month or two, trash the story and rewrite it, wait another month or two, trash and rewrite it again, then let someone else read it. Usually by then I also think it's not worth making a VN out of, or publishing at all.

I typically refuse to let myself trash and rewrite a third time: if I'm at that point, the story I'm trying to tell must be crap that I can't capture it.

Usually, though, rewriting removes from the length rather than add, so I end up with short stories a lot. My current, final draft of Ens Causa Sui (yes, still working on that...!) looks to be around 4,000, maybe 5,000 words. The first draft got three times as much, but I realised I hated writing a lot of those scenes and I've been combining and removing scenes ever since, so that I enjoy writing each one of them. My philosophy is that if I hate writing them, you must hate reading them.

Maybe I'm too arrogant by deciding what my readers will like.

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Re: Re-writes

#6 Post by Mad Harlequin » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:50 pm

Applegate wrote:Maybe I'm too arrogant by deciding what my readers will like.
Not really. As long as you're not ruling out their input entirely (which you're not doing), you have the right as the author to override pieces of advice with which you disagree.
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Re: Re-writes

#7 Post by Mirrowdothack » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:42 am

I have to admit I am a writer who does some outlines and then I wait for my characters to tell me their story (sometimes this is like watching a tv show for me XD).
When I get an idea that is pretty cool and fitting but I haven't thought about it at the start of my story then I do changes. If I don't like a certain part anymore I do changes. And if one of my character is not fitting anymore I change him/her or earase them from the story. So basically: I do changes again and again while I'm still writing. And with my outlines and my goal in mind I can do that without crushing the whole story ^^

But I guess it's a good idea to have at least finished your outlines/notes, draft etc. before you start to change tooooooo much (you might get confused).

In the end, writing is no science, no math, etc. It's art. Your story needs to "feel good". You can "redraw" your story as much as you want. But if you do too much, then maybe you have never thought about what kind of story you wanted to create/tell in the first place ^^" So, think about this first.
Try to summarize your story in 3-5 sentence. This is called your "plot". It your story's core and you will triy to focuse on it in order to work on one story. If you change that core, you will probably write a different story^^ (and then it would not be about "re-write"), but that's another topic of its own^^
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Re: Re-writes

#8 Post by Hijiri » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:52 pm

I can only say that anyone new to writing should get used to re-writing, re-re-writing, and re-re-re-writing frequently. It can range from simple scenes to your entire story.
In my case, I've rewritten Death Rile: lost code five times now. Orz
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Re: Re-writes

#9 Post by Lexer » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:15 pm

I only let myself do rewrites and/or heavy edits of the whole manuscript around three times then I send it on its way. I noticed that there seems to be a compulsive need to edit and change things around every time I read a draft and I realized that I'll never finish if I let myself spiral into a cycle of editing, rereading, and re-editing. Setting a hard deadline for yourself helps immensely with getting your manuscript finished which is all the more important when you're working with a group of people.

By this I mean a finished draft. Not a portion of a chapter or anything like that.

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Re: Re-writes

#10 Post by KittyKatStar » Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:29 pm

Uh sure! I kept wondering if I should share Autumn's Journey rewrite stories since it was short and I followed the month deadline. (Yea it didn't get released until a year later, but I wanted to stick to the deadline faithfully and see what I could accomplish in a month.)

Note, I'm pretty awful at connecting dots, story plots, so you'll probably see how I struggled over stuff other people would've solved in minutes… ^_^;;;; So a lot of embarrassing stuff, revisions, and dumb moments ahoy here and not sure if it'd be that interesting… spoiler warning...?

Although I didn't rewrite the whole thing, there were 3 parts I struggled with a lot, and there were some additional scenes I added when my editor Arowana commented she'd like certain things fleshed out.

Chapter 3 - originally I skimmed over Auralee showing Ilmari around Berri (town) since I thought that'd be boring. Arowana pointed out there were more scenes with Kerr than Ilmari, and wanted it to be balanced out. Also added the ear-touching scene since I was struggling to find a way to mention Sun and Moon children, and the different dragon types without it being too exposition-y… >_<;

Chapter 8 - I rewrote the entire battle scene three times, and broke down into tears many times. T_T It was hard because I was worried how people would see the female lead character, Auralee. I didn't want her to be too strong (she's young and inexperienced), but I was worried people would view her as too weak since she also shows vulnerability earlier. I shuffled scenes (Ilmari's arrival, when the knights arrived, when Kerr arrived), shuffled her final speech where she took a stance, rewrote dialogue… Then I was worried it was too short so I tried to make it super epic and long, but then I realized it'd be boring since we had no battle sprites or assets to play out with the battle scene. I also felt I lost sight with the purpose of this scene by doing that. I ended up chopping it back down and focusing on Aura's decision between her friends and the knights.
So it went Aura vs knight confrontation -> Ilmari arriving -> Kerr arriving in that order.

I totally flubbed post battle, but I liked to think it was because the characters themselves didn't know what to do either in that situation because they'd never anticipate fighting off knights themselves. I kick myself over it a lot. OTZ (I think Kerr had the better idea of Ilmari eating the bad guy, lol) I can't thank Arowana enough for putting up with my nervous breakdowns, I was such a mess for chapter 8 and chapter 9.

Chapter 9 - oh dear where to even START. First draft? Everyone and their mom told me it was lacking and missing something and I knew it too. At least the draft was done, so I could work with it. To avoid having to play the game I'll try to sum up the events:

- Group arrives home after 'saving the world', have dinner with Aura's mom and dad.
- Auralee has a conversation with Kerr alone, and then Ilmari alone (it shuffles depending on affection levels.)
- In friendship ending they have a morning scene together, talking about the future etc. Then it cuts to the cave scene.
- in the romance endings, their alone conversation is extended a bit, then it cuts to the cave scene.
- ending scene they're at the cave and then say goodbye. There's some minor dialogue differences depending on the ending you get.

Originally the friendship ending did *not* have the morning scene, it just jumped to the cave. So it was an additional scene I added. I tried to figure out what strings were still loose (Aura's dream, what Ilmari and Kerr plan to do) and address that. It wasn't easy, and I struggled a lot, but I feel it was something the friendship ending really needed.

And originally the romance scenes uh… just ended at the alone conversation. It got pointed out it could be seen as uh a non-PG fade-to-black moment, so I had to fix it because it's an all-ages game. XD I'm awful with romances because once the mushy stuff happens, I feel my cheeks heat up and I click out of the document. ~_~;

Originally the romances were supposed to be bittersweet but I learned that I can't write sad scenes, and it didn't seem to fit the theme of Autumn's Journey either. (I even sunk AuraXIlmari ship. Deji made fun of me, so I changed it out of "FINE I'LL SHOW YOU" spite. XD ) Deji also supervised me during the romances and pointed out whenever I messed up, got overdramatic, etc. In the end they were still short and not that fleshed out… While beta-ing the VN, I'd skim over the romance dialogue, one hand covering my face. It's so embarrassing. I can't even bring myself to read the stuff to this day. >/////<

Minor revisions were adding the Ilmari/Aura scene at the very end about his rock collection, and trying to tie in stuff they did from previous scenes.

Other revisions that were kinda general/all throughout the game:

Chap 1
- Had to add more reasons to why Auralee would stop to address a sleeping traveler since the original reason was seen as flimsy.
- Made Aura more selfish/unwilling when it came to helping Kerr since it was pointed out she was 'too nice'
- A beta reader dropped out at that point (very beginning of Nano) and for the rest of the NanoReno I was convinced everything I wrote was awful. =,D

Chapter… 2? Whenever Ilmari was introduced. XD
- I kept messing up Ilmari's name i.e. Ilmara, Ilmeri in the beginning. So whenever Kerr said the wrong name, that's just me poking fun at myself. >.>;

Chap 4 (I think?)
- After Auralee vanishes to be tested for knight-in-training the scene between Ilmari and Kerr was much shorter. I went back to it when I realized it was a good opportunity for the two to bond and added a few extra lines. I wanted to show that Ilmari/Kerr had a friendship not revolved around Auralee.

Chap 9
- I originally had no reason why Auralee was scared of earthquakes. I guess it was a combination of Ace Attorney and Ouran High School Host Club influence. Then it somehow tied up at the end @_@ I was glad, because I was this close to removing it entirely. But I think it helped flesh out some of her history and backstory with her family. ^^;

I have this odd knack of adding things and not knowing how they'll thread together until later. >_<; Whether it's a personality trait or like/dislike. The more I write, then it'll eventually make sense or come together.

Misc:
- Had a lot of restrictions/rules since Ishtera isn't my world, so I couldn't use certain plot points or ideas. Some stuff was kinda vague/undecided (i.e. how long the Dragonkind used heaven kind forms to mingle with them) so remained vague on it too…

- Ilmari and Kerr were originally gonna wear cloaks to hide their ears, but sprite restrictions, so that was tossed out ASAP.

- Struggled with how Auralee would become a knight. There would be no drama if she got the title (and relied on her mom's letter), but the plot would also halt if she was completely shut out from knighthood. So I went with an easy angle where a knight-in-training badge was handed to her on a silver platter. A lot of sentences were altered, and minor scenes rewritten a bit for this. >_<;
However I hoped it would balance out when Auralee would willingly toss it away, a badge she was *lucky* to get in the first place and was *this* close to becoming a full-fledged knight if she completed her mission.
Not sure what I would've done if I didn't have a month deadline… but I'm really bad at stuff like this, so it's what I went with. ^^;

Phew, all this stuff done in a month! There were other things I wished I could've revised (chap 1 intro, I was reading Grapes of Wrath and Crime and Punishment during the nano. Prose and word choices kept slipping in >.>; ) but I focused on the stuff that needed addressing the most so it would make the deadline.

People point out it could've been polished up a bit more, and it's totally true. Awkward wording, plot holes or oversights, but the feedback was very helpful and I just have to keep going forward. It's my first stone in my fortress of regret. XD The whole word count was 41k. I think originally it was 36-38k so the additional scenes bumped it up.

(If you were able to read the whole thing, I'm sorry. Not sure if it was helpful or interesting or gives you an idea of what revising/rewriting stuff is like… So thanks for hanging in there, and good luck with your stories!)
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Re: Re-writes

#11 Post by breadslam » Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:26 pm

I generally rewrite my work (both personal and professional) about four or five times. That's quite a bit, especially from a scheduling standpoint, but it's more of a "let's take this idea and do something different" than "let's delete my previous attempts and start fresh". I might not even completely explore an idea or get as far as I did with my first draft, but I like to compare all these different variations and incorporate what's good about each one while trimming out what's not so good.

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