Third Draft is Out

I just emailed out the third draft, what I’m calling the Gamma Draft, of the Parsec system to the publisher. I’m proud of where it is on the one hand, and on the other hand there is the feeling that I always get when I read what I’ve written – man, this is crap. I know that it probably isn’t crap, but that’s just the reaction I have to things I write most of the time.

Its been a long process, and it isn’t over yet. Something like 14 months and counting.

I’ve run a couple playtests with the near-finished system a while ago, and they both went really well. Everyone had fun, they understood the system in a matter of minutes, and I got some solid new ideas to improve the whole thing (which have gone in already for the most part).

At the same time, there are always other ideas percolating. What tells me I’ll be designing games for a long while is that when I get burned out thinking about one game, I just turn around to work on another. When time allows of course.

If only I was passionate about writing something lucritive, you know? Like writing self-help books, or writing how to get out of paying taxes if you’re rich enough, or writing adolescent fantasy about vampires in high school. Of course, there are tens of thousands of people who are passionate about writing those things who never make a cent.

The average editor of a major fantasy or scifi magazine, for example, gets something like a thousand submissions a month, or 12k a year, of which they publish maybe 6-12; say 10 for the ease of math. That means if you’ve finished a story and sent it in to a magazine like that, you have a 1/1200 chance of being published. And that’s just one publication – that’s not paying the bills or anything wild like that.

Not writing crap is a good way to up those odds. Also submitting to lots of publications. Having a decent story moves you out of the outright slush-pile, maybe to the 1/120 range. So if you write 10 good, solid stories, and send them to every publication you can think of, you might get something in one of them.

Anyway, long tangent. The good news is – draft three is done and draft four, AKA the final draft, is coming.

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