In Vampire: The Masquerade, vampires can enter a state called “torpor,” an extremely deep slumber basically comparable with stasis. This word entered my household’s regular use years ago and is one we sometimes whip out in front of “normals” without noticing except for when we see the confused faces wondering, what language are these two speaking? That’s two very long sentences merely to get to my point that I feel like I’ve fallen into torpor regarding development of the vampire game.
It’s not that my interest has waned in any way, but that the forced breaks during classes have cooled my writing engine and now I’m finding it very hard to get it restarted. Obviously I’m trying – this post, which really doesn’t say much – is me turning the key in the ignition, letting the car sputter, hoping the car will finally turn on.
Ok, enough of the car analogy.
My point is, to have stepped away from this project for months (and the occasional short post I threw in there was merely a way for me to keep the topic current in both my mind and yours, but not really a full-fledged effort at actual on-the-fly game design) makes it really hard now that I have time to go back to it with the same level of enthusiasm as in the beginning. Not impossible, just hard.
I’m not saying anything that doesn’t apply to any writer, I know. I’m just working through my own awakening from torpor.
I continue to hold Gen Con as a deadline for a playable-with-me first draft (this being a draft that is playable only if I’m running it, that is, one full of mnemonics, short phrases completed in my head, references that I’ll understand), which leaves me about a month’s time to work through the parts I know are still missing and put the entire thing together into some semblance of order.
I’m also fighting an innate tendency in my own personality: the close-enough-you-can-see-the-finish-line drop in interest on a project. By nature, I’m far more efficient on the early stages of any project; I have energy, ideas, desire to get the thing going, motivation. I’m a starter, one who gets fires burning. But I have a problem in the long term, as I lose steam or get distracted by other new projects. It’s simply a reality, and unfortunately I have not had the fortune of partnering up with others who can complement my early-in-the-game fire with the endurance needed for the long haul. Given how writing this game has been such a solitary endeavor, it means it is up to me primarily to work through the lethargy and find the inner reserves needed to see this project to its end. Which I desperately want to do.
So, one month left, and perhaps about 25% more of the game to get designed enough for a first playtest draft. I can do it. I just have to shake off this torpor and get designing again. By Dracula’s teeth, I will finish my first full-fledged game.