Monday, 4 November 2013
Homage to NaNoWriMo
As a kid I was an avid computer gamer and spent many a rainy afternoon playing a dodgy Spectrum version of The Hobbit; a game whose frame-rate was so slow you could pass getting on for twenty minutes watching a child-like line drawing of The Shire compose itself before you could begin to interact.
But I was absorbed. I was borderline obsessed. And my obsession manifested itself in a burning desire to programme computer games.
So I set about mastering BASIC, a just-add-water-and-stir programming language beloved of myopic schoolboys like me, and I made my first game, a BMX-based adventure. The experience was soul-sapping. I never did it again.
There’s a huge disconnect between producer and consumer in gaming. They make ‘em, we play ‘em - and we get what we’re given. The same goes for movies and music. Why? Because these are art forms that need the mastery of an entirely new language; one that could take years to acquire.
Not so with fiction, though.
If we read a book we love, and we’re lucky enough to have received a decent education, we can pick up a pen and start writing… and a story emerges immediately. An hour or so in, you could be re-reading your opening scene and planning what happens next. Fan fiction is massive because people get a kick out of doing just that. NaNoWriMo fans the same flames.
So if you’re hammering away on a laptop somewhere this month – great. Enjoy yourself. I’ll be rooting for you.
Any art form which develops a way of closing the gap between producer and consumer has a very healthy future, I reckon.