Friday, June 2, 2017

A Thought From The Video Game Community

I was listening to an article on NPR a couple of days ago about the inventor of the Atari Flop - The ET Game. He mentioned something that I think is worth considering.

He noted that in the video game creator community, the use the phrase "Greed Kills." As he describes it, think of when you kill off your characters in video games. It is when you start playing for those bonus points and when you start taking risks that are really not worth it.

I do believe this is something more and more authors need to consider in the publishing world. You will be risking your career if you start playing for those dangerous "bonus points" and "bonus targets." In other words, when you start focusing on the contracts, on the money, on the reviews, on the bonuses and raises, you are forgetting the one true thing that got you that first contract - your writing.

My wife's grandfather used to play blackjack. According to the family, he was good! But he also operated with a similar rule. The moment he started thinking, "If I can win this next hand, I can make back those loses" he would get up from the table. The reasoning was clear. He was thinking about the money and not the game.

I teach as an adjunct, English at the community college level. I tell my students the exact same thing. If you start into writing a paper only thinking about the word count, the page count, or what it will take to "get an A", the paper will end up being a flop. But, those students who concentrate on writing a great paper will find that the grades will follow. Why? Again the focus is on the writing.

So, as you work on your story, or if you are heading out to pitch to an agent at a conference, or if you are writing that query letter, quit thinking about what needs to be done to get the contract. Focus instead on what it takes to just tell a damn good story!

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