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September 21, 2014 / gameofslaves

Progress. It happens.

“My Crazy Summer” is coming along.  It was supposed to be a simple Choose Your Path story-game reflecting some events from one particularly interesting summer. I am making progress through it.  It’s a bit on the rough shade, but I’m getting there.  The hardest part is keeping things simple.

[Semi-rant follows. Mostly introspection. If not interested in the fluff, jump to the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) for the summary.]

If I simply told things as they happened, then it would be a story and not a game. What I’m aiming for is the game side.  To do that, I have to give options which will then be reflected in later moments.  I want to give so many options… I want to allow so many things.

My working principle is: “If I were back there again, knowing what I know now… what would I do differently? …and what would happen?”

From there, there are so many possibilities. I can think of a few primary paths and those are what I’m writing for.

  • Should I pursue the friendship of the girl who thought I was a girl?
  • Should I be honest when, after a month of being friends, she finally sits me down and asks me that critical question: ‘Are you really a boy?’
  • What if I lied? Would she believe me? Would she ask for proof? Would dishonesty pay off?
  • Should I endear myself to the old man who thought likewise?  Would I, now, knowing he was recruiting for underage prostitution?
  • Should I stand up to the teen gang wannabes who controlled the kids’ playground after dark?
  • What would they think of me?  What would they do to me? What would they do to my family?
  • What if I had stumbled across the real gang members who ran their operations from this quiet, unassuming apartment complex?

There are many secondary and tertiary paths, as well. But I’m trying not to focus on those so much.

As you can see from my list above, there were quite a lot of possibilities. And it isn’t easy writing for all of them.  Some are challenging because they are emotionally difficult. Some are challenging because ‘could this really have happened’? …and some are just plain boring.

The hardest part, I think, is reading through it all (what I’ve written so far) and seeing how many options I truly did have… how I had so many chances to turn around and walk away. …chances to say the right things.  …chances to really mess up my life.  …chances to really hurt the people I love.

This started off as an all-too-simple concept: What if I had answered *Linda’s question differently?

But then I started to remember things… like the old man… I saw him several times, always kind and interesting… but I didn’t take him up on (most of) his offers.  Then, I find out (doing research for this story) that he was the ringleader for a small gang focused on youth vices.

Also, I found out that one of the largest gangs on the West Coast had a high-level person living in my little unassuming little corner of the world.  — Two hundred feet from where I dreamed of living my life differently, was a man running 50-66% of criminal activity in the county and the suburbs south of a metropolitan city. — He used to wind down by playing on the half-court hoop in front of his townhouse… across a very small parking lot from my bedroom window.  I watched them playing when I’d sneak into, and out of, my bedroom window at night… not realizing he and his b-ball-buddies were armed… and with better equipment than the entire police force.  The only reason he didn’t resist when they went to arrest him was because his 15-year-old niece was visiting and he didn’t want to put her safety at risk.  “Otherwise, there’d be a lot of blood flowing free; and it wouldn’t’ve been mine.”

I met his niece.  She was 9 (I think) when I met her.  Nice girl.  Quiet.  Brilliant smile.  Wore a cross pendant on her necklace and crosses in her ears.  She was God-fearing and upright; honest.

The more I try to remember about that place and the people there, the more I want to write about them.  But they don’t belong in my game-story. They’re out of my scope, for the most part.  And considering my perv-adult mind, I would do them a disservice including them.

And I so want to ‘explore’ the little farm across the way… turns out it hosted zoophiles.  (Animalists; bestiality practitioners.)

I grabbed a screenshot from a satellite mapping site and snipped out most of the identifying info, and the complex and surrounding area really hasn’t changed much in the last couple of decades.  Some things have, of course. Surprising how the little farm is still there, and the gully… and the half-court… There are fences added, in a few places… more cars in the big parking lot.


What if…?  What if…?  What if…?  

And how do you write a game offering some options while denying others?

Careful selection and restraint.  …of which I have neither in plentiful supply. *grin*

Sorry about going down memory lane like that.  Thanks for coming along with me, though.  🙂

TL; DR — Working on smaller and smaller projects. Making progress with them. Learning more about myself and my skills. Improving my skills and processes to improve my bigger projects. Learning the notion “write what you know” makes for good writing. And “write from your past” makes for a LOT of writing. You can’t change the past.  Sometimes doing so would change who you are and what you do.



(Post Script: I’m using “Linda” in place of her real name out of respect. Her actual name was pretty common, but still. She was my friend. She showed me what I could have had. It was wonderful. It was painful. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized what I had. )

(Post post script: I have a feeling I’ll be writing about this a bit more… script-therapy, I suppose.  The game was inspired by real events, all else is fiction.)

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