Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cross-Post: You say you want evolution?

Cross-posted from The Story Game.:

Okay, first a confession: we try to remain at least a week ahead of the website, so that we have plenty of time to be sure we get something up. That means that no, we are not writing A Continuity of Crows this week; we wrote it last week, and we're already working on the pitch for the next cycle. If that ruins our mystique, then someone let me know and I will take down this post and deny it ever existed. I am a whore to my audience.

So, the point of that little revelation is that since we're just getting back on track from a hiatus, we didn't have a previous week's story to post this time. What we did was we reached back in time (because we can do that) and grabbed a story from the distant time before we started the website, and used that to sub-in while we got back on our feet. And I hate to say it, but the age shows a little.

And that's what I'd like to talk about a little: progression as a writer. When I was in fifth grade writing my first novel (it got to chapter 3 and probably remains the longest thing I've ever written. There was a guy with a sword and everything.) I thought I had truly mastered the profession. I was at the very peak of my game, riding the rocket to stardom. Unfortunately, it was all derailed when my new braces and glasses forever ruined my ability to pose for an author photo.

Throughout high school, I thought I was good, and in college, in a creative writing class, and even to this very day, I'm proud of my work. But every time I go back and read old work, I suddenly see all the flaws and absences in it that just passed me by when I was writing it. It all seems immature compared to what I'm writing now. And in six months when I look at that, it'll seem juvenile too.

I think that's one of the neatest parts about being a writer: seeing what you can come up with down the road. Constantly trying to top yourself. The downside is realizing that what once seemed to be the be-all peak of awesome actually isn't that good at all. And that's the upside of being a reader of current literature. You get to watch other writers go through the development process. It's so cool to know that this year, Neil Gaiman will write a short story that will blow away the one I read last year, and make me remember again why I love spec-fic. And the same with this here JED guy. It's awesome seeing what he's going to come up with next, what direction he's going to take his world-building in, what new meta-level he will slip onto in the newest story.

Which brings me to my final point: today, you get to see that process in direct motion, as JED is also posting his long-awaited last edition of History of the Citadel, and it's well worth reading. I hope you'll all be able to follow what happens-- the trick is to remember that this is based off of an actual round of a game. Keep that in mind, and I think you'll see, it's pretty cool.