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Author Topic: Creators' Book  (Read 3408 times)

mikey

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Creators' Book
« on: August 30, 2011, 07:48:09 pm »
Thanks for the positive response to the book project! I have decided to create a separate topic for it - let me know if I can also officially call it Teacup Event #5 - I don't want to impose. In any case, it makes sense to have a separate topic on it. To introduce the project:

The idea:
Quote from: another topic
In light of the conversation in one of the topics, I had an idea, which could be controversial or even impractical given that everyone has their own views on things, and I am in fact pretty much just thinking aloud, but here it goes - what if, for the next event (Event #5), we don't make a VN, but we write, collaboratively, a philosophical book about art and creating?

The thing is, I have seen pieces of very interesting thoughts here and there, but I've always wanted to have some reference work where the typical subjects like popularity, self-expression, what-is-art, etc would be dealt with. This would give us more space to elaborate on concepts, because it's difficult to hunt down a certain topic on forums and blog posts. I would even suggest this be a wiki-style collaboration, with revisions coming out whenever needed, though the scope of the event would "just" be to create that first version of the "e-book". It would be perfectly OK to rehash points we've made in the past, even copy/paste parts of things we've said (some of the posts here are good candidates, as well as BTW articles), because the point would be that the contributors collect all their relevant views on things into this one book.

As for the content, I would suggest not doing a collection of let's say "techniques for beating procrastination", but instead having something like "what is procrastination and how does it affect your mind", meaning writing even about the practical topics from a higher level. In this case this would be more of a psychological topic, not philosophical, but that's well within the scope, psychological angles are welcome. Therefore this book I am suggesting here now would not be a collection of "tips" or "best practices" or "how to get started", so it would not be for people who are beginning and experimenting and have not found their style yet. It would be for those who have tried creating things, they liked it, want to continue doing it, but are looking for a meaning or explanations why creating makes them feel a certain way to understand things about themselves and why they are happy doing what they do.

Also, from the same topic:

... on any given topic you can find many blog posts or forum posts of various length, and you have to read through a lot of them before you can distill the essence, so to speak. Many articles make similar points, and I believe that every topic can be more or less comprehensively portrayed, so that it combines for example 20 posts and essays on "Art" into one chapter the length of let's say 5 essays. It's still longer than any single essay, but it's structured and presents all the various ways of thinking about the topic, preferably without any significant bias.

I think a good way to approach this would be like you would some university paper, at least from the formal side. Definitions, structure etc. Also, it would be good to have an editor (or two), or even chapter-responsible people. Plus, just collecting interesting views and articles into a pool of resources would be good.

The structure:
So far, there is a chapter list (feel free to edit / shuffle):
Quote
[Segment]: Chapter

- [Personal involvement]: Vision / Satisfaction / Self-expression / Sentimental value
- [Design and Expression]: Characters / Plot / Storytelling / Art / Visuals / Music

- [Production & Team]: Commercial / Free / Money / Single person / Team
- [Motivation]: Procrastination / Writer's block / Failed projects

- [Perception]: Critique / Opinions / Audience
- [Success & Metrics]: Popularity / Word Count / Art quality / Downloads / Acclaim / Fan works

We could also agree on the inner structure of the book, meaning whether to each chapter we will have a structure as well, something like (for "Commercial"):
- Definition (what do we mean by commercial, terminology)
- Elements (creating by paying artists, games for sale, profit vs. artistic expression, etc)
- Connections (how does this topic relate to other chapters)

The name:
I guess it's better to give a title later, but if you have ideas as to how we could call the book, you are welcome to share them. "Creators' book" is not a very good name. It doesn't need to be "branded" Teacup, though we could have a random tea-inspired name for it, like "The Darjeeling Tomb" (let's not use that though :) )

The sources:

Although primarily the writing will be original, collecting existing articles and reusing already well formulated ideas is also a good idea and one of the main reasons for the project - so that theories or analyses you've put a lot of effort into don't get buried. You can post links to articles you've written that you think are suitable (or just portions of them).

Also, I would say it's a good idea to simply collect or write down miscellaneous creation-relevant topics or things "you always wanted to say", even if they don't fit into the structure, as new things can develop from them. These can be articles, "proven rules" or just "good points" you've made or come across.

The staff:
So I would say we have an idea what it is we want to do, now I think we can start looking for contributors and editors. I would like to be an editor (for the whole project), therefore I put my name in the list, and also I'd like to be an editor for a segment etc...

Editors: mikey, ?
Segment editors: mikey (Personal Involvement)
Chapter editors: ? (Word Count), ? (Storytelling), etc...

The tools:
Also, I would like to ask whether you have some ideas as to how we should do the collaboration. Via a wiki, or google docs, or some common blog? Can it be done through the forums?

The credits:
This may be a tricky one, how do we credit everyone? Is being a contributor enough, should we credit the person responsible (editor) for the chapter (though the chapter editor can just edit, he doesn't need to actually write that much, just use existing things). Or do we credit or color code each line?

My suggestion would be that we form a "circle of contributors" who will be the main authors and not take individual credit, but be credited as a whole. Then, smaller contributors can be credited individually, for quotes or other contributions.

Anyway, feel free to post your ideas or comments.

Hime

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Re: Creators' Book
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 11:28:38 am »
I might write a longer comment later on, but my overall impressions for now: YES! Let's go for it! I've been thinking about writing something in this vein before, and this would be a great outlet for that. I'm not too decided on the topics yet, but I'm sure I'll at least write something on art and my philosophy on it.

I'm not entirely sure if we should make this an official event, though. Somehow, I feel that doing this without the "official Teacup X" may give us a bit more freedom to express ourselves as creators rather than as a community (since there isn't really any official philosophy of creation). We could think of it as a Teacup-organised effort rather than a Teacup event, maybe?

Do you have any ideas about our possible schedule? One possible reason not to do this as an event is also that this sounds like a long-term effort to me, rather than a more short-term/temporary "event". For a big project like this where people will want to write for a longer period of time, plus we probably want to take in as many different views as we can find, I think a 2012 or later deadline would sound good...

Putting up a separate place for the entries may help us get more participants, though I suppose we can also use the forum.

Maybe we could have a chat/Skype session with those that are interested in organising the event?

Also, I was left a bit confused about this: would we write whole articles on a subject, possibly having more personal ideas and experiences as well, or go for a more objective view in all parts of the book (everyone's views on the subject edited into one essay)? Or a balance of both styles? Maybe we could have some more thought-provoking/personal essays to spice things up?
« Last Edit: September 04, 2011, 11:31:19 am by Hime »
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number473

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Re: Creators' Book
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 02:29:52 pm »
Quote from: Hime
Also, I was left a bit confused about this: would we write whole articles on a subject, possibly
having more personal ideas and experiences as
well, or go for a more objective view in all parts
of the book (everyone 's views on the subject
edited into one essay)? Or a balance of both
styles? Maybe we could have some more
thought- provoking/personal essays to spice
things up ?
This was discussed in the planning thread, and please correct me if I'm wrong here, mikey's idea is to rather have a single consolidated article on each topic. I still think, however, it would benefit from an approach where multiple, preferably differing, views/articles were given for each topic. I'm not suggesting a large number of opinion articles at all, but rather a small (3 or 2) selection of carefully chosen articles on very specific complementary topics leading to a full understanding of the subject covered. In other words by exposing the contrasting and interlocking facets of each topic.
A combination approach could work also, for example presenting an objective summary followed by a (small) number of articles focusing on key areas.

If I may suggest an alternative to the breakdown, another possibility would be to split the book into sections focusing on specific skills/tasks involved in vn creation, i.e. art, writing, programming, story design/concepts, and so on. I certainly think that the content outline or at least a good first draft of it would be the best place to start. I would like to put together something on writing, since I could hardly call myself expert in any other areas.

With regards to crediting this is my proposal (which is based on my own preconceived notions without any additional research):
The names of the overall editors go on the front cover, since they're the ones responsible for the book overall.
Somewhere near the front is a page crediting everyone.
Section headings are followed by the name of the editor and a list of contributors (probably only feasible if the section heading is on a page of its own).
Each chapter has a by line for the person that wrote it.
Any other sources are credited as appropriate and listed in a bibliography.

Lastly, in line with what I said above, I think it would be more appropriate for true person in charge of each chapter to be a writer, with the section editors above that and responsible for the coherence within the section (as discussed above).

mikey

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Re: Creators' Book
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2011, 07:14:21 am »
Actually, I think having a chat / VC would be best, at least to agree on the basics, which we can then build on using the forum or other forms - a chat, or preferrably a skype call or something realtime will be much quicker to discuss everything and take some basic decisions, so that we have the same direction / expectations.

mikey

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Re: Creators' Book
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 09:16:31 am »
One of the reasons I was so cautious about suggesting this was that I think that while on the face of it it looks fun and relatively easy, in reality it's quite a tough proposal.

As number473 mentioned, my suggestion was to have one (longer) article about a topic, rather than multiple opinions or takes on the matter. Of course, both approaches have their positives, but I am thinking that we have done a lot of the "one topic - multiple takes" through the now-closed BTW. This doesn't mean that the one long article (i.e. chapter in the book) can't have those multiple opinions or views incorporated - on the contrary, we should strive to bring every possible aspect into the analysis. So while I may elaborate on the various aspects of freeware philosophy regarding artistic freedom, another contributor can - in that same text - insert aspects pertaining to perceived worth of free things. Others can contribute to the chapter by examining the term and what it may refer to - just as an example, a "commercial vs. freeware" definition or categorizing may take into account:

- cost for player: download / play / read for free or pay
- free game, made by people who got paid by the game creator
- free game with some kind of ad support or promotion (e.g. Ronald McDonald's Quest)
- free game, but either pay for subsequent installments or it's intended to showcase the studio in hopes of getting sales on "big" titles
- commercial game, but made by people who didn't receive pay (i.e. hobby makers selling a game once done)
- third-party published ("large" company, single person / independent company that's different to the maker)
- artistic / university projects which are free, but may also act as prestige or making the university visible
- free game, remake is paid, or other platform release is free

Already in this list you can see that it's never a simple discussion "commercial vs. free", even though it is often phrased like this. It is also never truly a discussion of "artistic integrity" vs "selling out", although it is also often portrayed as such.

And this is what I am after when proposing this "book". In article / blog form, I think that varied opinions, even one-sided opinions (if backed by a theory or approach) are fine, and allow people to choose between various approaches, e.g. "identifying" with a certain author, or his general stance and principles, essentially looking for "what fits".

Here, I am proposing something more like an analysis, where we won't really have any final statement (though we can have some findings and cite psychological principles), but convey the real scope of the discussion, so that people can be made aware of the multitude of factors coming into play. Of course to remain sane, you will have to choose some path, but I found that the more you are aware of the complexity of the issue, the more likely you are to discuss it respectfully and understand what is discussed.

Quote from: Hime
Do you have any ideas about our possible schedule? One possible reason not to do this as an event is also that this sounds like a long-term effort to me, rather than a more short-term/temporary "event".
Regarding not having this an event - it's fine with me, although I think that if I would be engaged with this project, I would likely not have time to do an event in addition. Your point is actually very valid, it does make sense not to treat it as an event if it's a longer-term effort stretching beyond the end of 2011. I don't think I can suggest a schedule though, other than just "start and see". I can't really imagine this not going well into 2012, perhaps until spring 2012. It depends on the scale we decide to do.

Quote from: number473
If I may suggest an alternative to the breakdown, another possibility would be to split the book into sections focusing on specific skills/tasks involved in vn creation, i.e. art, writing, programming, story design/concepts, and so on.
As far as the general outline is concerned, what you suggest could probably have its of sub-section called "practical skills", which would be the more practical side of the book. I would really like to focus on the philosophical / psychological aspects, so I would probably not be so active in the "skills" part. It is a potentially large segment of the book, though - in a more abstract way I would say that in "[Design and Expression]" we would talk about "the role of characters in storytelling", whereas in that proposed segment "[Practical skills]" it would be more about "character archetypes, character design, writing styles with pros and cons,..." and so on. Again, I think this is a potentially huge task, collecting everything relevant on the given topics from a practical point of view, so we'd just have to keep that in mind. I have rearranged the proposed segment / chapter list:

[Segment]: Chapter

- [Personal involvement]: Vision / Satisfaction / Self-expression / Sentimental value
- [Design and Expression]: Characters / Plot / Storytelling / Art / Visuals / Music

- [Production & Team]: Commercial / Free / Money / Single person / Team

- [Perception]: Critique / Opinions / Audience
- [Success & Metrics]: Popularity / Word Count / Art quality / Downloads / Acclaim / Fan works

- [Motivation]: Procrastination / Writer's block / Failed projects
- [Practical skills]: art, writing, programming, story design/concepts

Quote from: number473
With regards to crediting this is my proposal (which is based on my own preconceived notions without any additional research):
The names of the overall editors go on the front cover, since they're the ones responsible for the book overall.
Somewhere near the front is a page crediting everyone.
Section headings are followed by the name of the editor and a list of contributors (probably only feasible if the section heading is on a page of its own).
Each chapter has a by line for the person that wrote it.
Any other sources are credited as appropriate and listed in a bibliography.
This sounds good to me. I personally don't really care about the crediting that much (or at least I feel like I don't care), but it's important to me that everyone will feel like their contribution has been credited sufficiently i.e. that people feel comfortable contributing their most thoughtful ideas.

 

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