some kind of verb, some kind of moving thing

This guest post was written by Will Hindmarch, a freelance writer and designer of games and fiction. Read more at his blog at wordstudio.net.

A few years ago, inspiration struck me a few times in a row and I started work on a new tabletop game. It was a story game about journeys. I knew that much. Sitting down at my kitchen table, writing in my notebook, ideas collided and threw off sparks that I distilled in handwriting as quick as I could.

One idea sparked another. I wrote down design questions and then answered them, right there on the spot. Not every answer was right. I learned that much. Actually playing the game showed me new questions and confounded some of my answers. No worries, though, that’s just the way that goes. Onward.

A few months ago, I described this game to a friend of mine who digs these sorts of things. I discovered as I talked that the game felt pretty finished. I’d been testing it for years, playing it with a myriad of new players, but I didn’t know how to tell myself it was ready to show people. So when I described the game to this friend of mine and he said “That sounds great!” it gave me the jolt I needed to turn my notes into a manuscript.

I’d been sort of writing this thing, in bits and pieces in my head, for a year. I knew what I wanted to say but I had been slow to turn my thoughts into text. Part of it was fear: this was a new kind of game for me and I’d be measured against giants when it was done. Another part of it was … also fear: what if what I wrote sucked out loud? I write for a living and I still feel that way sometimes.

Odyssey by Will Hindmarch
Odyssey by Will Hindmarch

A few hours ago, I launched the crowdfunding campaign to pay artists (and me) to finish the game book. The game’s called Odyssey. I think it’s pretty good.

I wanted to make this thing. I’ve wanted to make this thing for a while. What I needed was to get excited. It was a spark of enthusiasm — from a friend I wanted to inspire — that helped make this thing.

We participate in the creation of so many things, sometimes without knowing it. I don’t know if my friend knows that his casual enthusiasm powered this project’s creation like a life-giving bolt, but it did. Sparks start engines.

5 thoughts on “some kind of verb, some kind of moving thing”

  1. Sounds interesting. Off to check it out. BTW: Ever played Cosmic Encounter? I’ve been playing it for decades and it’s a blast.

  2. “One idea sparked another. I wrote down design questions and then answered them, right there on the spot. Not every answer was right. I learned that much. Actually playing the game showed me new questions and confounded some of my answers. No worries, though, that’s just the way that goes. Onward.”

    I love that you recognize the necessity of error in the early parts of writing. It’s sometimes difficult for me to get still, when I start a blog post, an article, or a chapter. Some of what Wil has said about writing also hits those notes – get it out and work it out.

    I’m a graduate student with a tight belt, but I promise to go right now and give your game a good hard look. Best of luck!

  3. Thanks, y’all, for taking the time to reply AND for checking out Odyssey. I appreciate it. I’m a big believer that one of the key characteristics of successful people is not failure avoidance but error recovery. We all make mistakes and explore dead ends in creative work. It’s going on that gets things done. So: Onward.

  4. 02/01/97 live soul coughing concert = i’m old
    yes. yes, i will check out your game.

    if i don’t forget what im doing on my way over.

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