Honestly, *sigh*. I sigh for the missed opportunities. I sigh for not being much of a participant. I sigh for the fact we are doing a dissection of the Round Robin when it isn’t over yet. And *sigh* for the following train-of-thought spiel.
However, there are lessons to be learned and things to take on board looking towards the continuation and finishing of this. One thing that has to be given to this RR is the fact from the outset there seems to be a clear intent on the authors that it has to move forward and it has to have some sort of endgame. That’s a good thing because maybe that means it will have an endgame.
The first RR was massive and epic. But you know what? It didn’t start out that way. It started out with lots of enthusiasm and then the curve balls, which happened with some planning but with a lot more improvisation, began a snowball effect that built the story up into something that started to become epic. However, as epic as it was, the story never got finished. And, let’s not look back on the last RR with too rose tinted lenses because it too had its problems and difficulties.
The last RR had its problems with writers who weren’t GMs or DMs (or whatever the terminology is) but who were dictating in their own fashion what happened in the story or with characters. McGregor for example was late into entering the last RR proper (off on his own little rubberducky jaunt) because the man was seen as offensive by certain players, who if McGregor had been brought in fully to begin with, would have bailed or caused huge problems behind the scenes. Other plot developments were not ok to go with because they didn’t fit with people’s philosophies, viewpoints or egos. One of the things that this RR seems to have, is a lacking of that same issue. Yes, there has maybe been a case of protectiveness to do with characters and a degree of not trusting others with our characters. So while I know I might have felt uncomfortable or unsure about writing other people’s characters, I’ve not had to feel uncomfortable about writing my own characters.
So you know what, more credit needs to be given as well. Last time round, and I have a previous blog post on this, we all got to know our characters and each other a great deal more by virtue of the interaction. Because the set up here (and not the split thread thing alone) with different missions so early on and the constant movement towards lots of varying goals mean there was no need for character interaction and thusly little author interaction. However, the last time out, a lot of us were more familiar with one another’s writing because we were a smaller community and all buzzing with the new site and the continued success of the archive. The Last RR got us buzzing and got the forum buzzing. But have a look see, the place is buzzing again. Yes, a lot of that is to do with the TToT13 but a lot of people are tuning in daily to read what is happening in the RR. Many have also gained a lot of new insight into one another as people or as authors through the process. ALL good stuff.
We had a massive cull rate too of characters – and writers – the last time and so that isn’t so different to this time round with a core left remaining to the end. Real life is real life and of course, no one can be sure what kind of commitment is required going into this for sure. Obviously, as mentioned by others, had we been more sure of one another’s characters and taken the time to bed them in, we might just have felt comfortable writing them when someone had to go AWOL.
I know one approach to taking on writing another person’s characters I took the last time is that I collabed one to one first and character to character. Once certain characters made a connection it was way easier to write their interactions. For example, T’Vel and AU Dukat made a connection by virtue of shared experiences and difficulties and so I was comfortable writing Dukat yet not that author’s other character, Berat. Alas, this time round, we sped right past all of the set up and get to know you stuff, and the oh my God what is this place???!!
Now, fault lies with myself for not getting halted and stalled on too many occasions and not having the time (and I honestly don’t know where that time has gone) to get involved and writing but my dear Tabatha has been left high and dry because by the time she had somewhere to beam down to, everyone else had moved on. So now, now she’s possibly a casualty of ancestor decimation and never existed. Dies without even a whimper offscreen. All because character development has been sacrificed for plot fuckery. Both can happen at the same time – the best bits from the last RR were those such bits – the AI Mind Possession was a sheer highlight for me personally writing T’Vel stuff and for reading others.
The split storyline is actually a genius idea. Truly it is. It also lent a very different flavour to (or Pie Number) this time round. However, it probably happened too soon. Is very tasking for the authors who have characters in both. And the main problem is the splitting within each separate storyline.
One problem with the RR is the thinking it had to be epic. Had to be as massive. And indeed, as delightfully fiendish as the Chilo are, it carries a lot of baggage over for a new RR. Especially so for new authors/players in this RR. But even to those who participated last time out, it meant if they brought their old characters back into it they had lots of baggage to contend with from the last experience. Steff”s Scott was practically suicidal by the end by virtue of the accumulated crap of the multiverse saga. McGregor is a mad contemplating things that are anathema to him and Hank we see is about to be mindfucked all over again. Makes for compelling stuff for sure, but labours some of the story and is hard for other players to play with.
But, let’s also remind ourselves, it isn’t over yet. And quite honestly, to date there has been absolutely stunning stuff. kespah’s pie and the Otraic theory and ancestor annihilation stuff is just plain whack, inspired and chilling. Solkar’s defense of Vulcan was heartbreaking. Scotty’s road to ruin and in particular flags was breathtaking. These are but a few of the moments and I’m sure there can be more to come.
Next time round?
Next time round, I might suggest something completely different. No mega-universe saga. Just to make it different. To start off fresh, to allow everyone to be more comfortable with the settings. Either challenge people to write original characters for a round robin or pare things down and have smaller teams writing separate round robin stories. That way, the scope can be narrowed down – to an era, to a specific challenge or threat. I’d suggested something of the sort for the tweaking of the collab trial but perhaps it could be linked to the RR.
That’s it for now.