Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I am a Perfectionist

I am a Perfectionist. That doesn't mean what I make is perfect, but simply that I have a hard time letting things go when I know they can be better. This is, incidentally, the main reason why Spheres of Power is taking so long; with the way the project grew through Stretch Goals there suddenly became so much more to consider, which meant I kept getting to visit and re-visit the core mechanics and how they interacted with the new stuff. On the bright side this leads to a better book. On the down side this means the wait for the book keeps on growing.

There are benefits and drawbacks to this style of design. Some of my favorite creators have been perfectionists; author Patrick Rothfuss takes so long to write a book that he's famously decreed he will add another week (and I think now it's another year) to the wait time for his next book every time someone asks him how much longer they're going to have to wait, and his books are some of the finest ever written. (seriously, this is not an exaggeration; read "The Name of the Wind".) For the musical-lovers out there, there's a reason Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire dance routines are still considered some of the greatest ever made.

On the other side, it could be argued that while Patrick Rothfuss is an amazing author, it's this exact problem (taking so long between books) that's keeping him from getting the complete world-wide recognition he deserves. As for Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, there are stories about just how horrible they were to work with because of this very quality; they refused to stop until they were completely satisfied.

There's also a financial problem with perfectionism; in an industry that lives as hand-to-mouth as RPG design, perfectionism can keep you from getting a following going; there simply isn't enough products coming out quickly to get people excited for your work.

In the end I can't say whether or not my approach will prove the best one for me, I just know it's how I work. Perhaps it'll kill me, or perhaps it will be worth the wait. Here's hoping.

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