Small 0.3 Progress Update + Thoughts on Writing
First of all, thanks for all the follows and positive feedback. All of you give me the motivation to make this thing.
10,000 / 40,000 words
I worked on v0.1 + 0.2 for months (felt like years), and the total word count of both clocked in somewhere around 25k. So this update is planned to be pretty significant as far as content goes.
Fair warning, I haven't slept much and this post is all over the place and not necessarily coherent.
I know it doesn't seem like it when we're reading something, but honestly, 40,000 words is a hell of a lot of words. Most published novels clock in at around 70-100k words, so this update alone will be half a novel.
Of course, writing a visual novel isn't quite the same as writing an industry standard novel. For one, there's much less narration and far more dialogue. Another is that the plot doesn't necessarily need to be as tightly woven. Many editors in the industry would toss your manuscript in the bin if it were nearly as wordy or full of fluff as the average visual novel. Some of that is because there's far less editorial oversight when it comes to VN scriptwriting, as most VNs are developed by small teams, or in the case of many Ren'Py VNs, (like Master Rune), by one person.
That doesn't really change what constitutes good writing, and it's certainly not a pass to write drivel. But in my eyes, there's a couple of big reasons why these types of VNs tend to be longer and looser than your typical novel.
One is obviously the nature of serial releases. Someone who needs to meet a monthly deadline for their project, a deadline that demands a certain amount of content to satisfy the creator's audience, doesn't have quite so much time to spend editing and cutting fluff. Nor would they really want to. It's probably easier to say they're not incentivized to do so. You see this problem in web novels and manga a lot, where things are needlessly drawn out for the sake of padding content.
But another major reason, and why I personally find VN content padding far less egregious, is the romance. Or the dating sim part of the adult game. The act of chasing a specific character in the interest of growing closer, sometimes even feeling a personal connection if the writing is relatable enough. For the purpose of this post, I'll just refer to it as romance.
Romance takes time. To truly connect with someone, it's necessary to spend time with them, time to learn about their habits, their quirks and their flaws. Content doesn't feel like simple padding when it's spent learning about or interacting with a character you like. It's okay to take time and just live with the characters, something the average novel might consider a death knell. There's no taskmaster or driving force to whip the author into shape and force them back onto the plot railroad.
Of course, plenty of games skip the romance and go straight for the adult elements. That's fine too, but not necessarily the kind of game I'm interested in making at the moment. Sex is a huge part of romance, but there's a lot more to romance than sex. It doesn't have to be incredibly deep or poignant, but I'd like whatever I make to last in the hearts and minds of those who consume it, at least for a little while. If I can make someone see these 3d anime girls as people, especially people they'd like to spend time with, then I'll consider the game a success.
What I'm describing is basically what the slice-of-life genre is all about, something I feel has been on the rise in recent years along with the rise of self-publishing. Speaking of, there's a certain level of stagnation in the publishing industry (like most industries) because nobody wants to invest in something that isn't guaranteed to turn a profit. This is especially noticeable in the cutthroat world of manga and anime, where you often see the same tropes repeated ad nauseum.
That's not super relevant to what I'm doing or anything, but it plays a part in why I think certain genres are exploding recently, especially in the world of self-publishing/web novels/web comics/etc. It's a uniquely modern thing, I think. Without overwhelming moderation, creators are free to create the things they want to create, and most importantly, still find an audience ready and willing to consume it. It's probably harder than ever to be seen among an ocean of incomplete or subpar content, and you still need to create something good, but still... that's pretty damn awesome if you ask me.
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