Dave over at Critical Hits had a great post on Friday about tearing down a game and recreating it in hopes of making it stronger.
This reminded me about when I was doing my Senior Project for my Creative Writing Major. (I was a double major in Music and Creative Writing….. would you like fries with that?)
I had written about 12 pages of the 5th and last short story for my portfolio and it just wasn’t going where I wanted it to go. It had started strong but just lost its flow (and frankly, a couple characters were annoying me.) I had showed my professor the draft a few times and he was liking most of it, but it just wasn’t working for me.
I deleted all but the opening paragraph and started over.
Three days before the portfolio was due.
I gave him four completed stories and the new beginning of the fifth (about 3 pages), with a note saying that I was sorry, but I had to start it over because I wasn’t satisfied with it.
When we met for a conference, I was ready to keep apologizing for the lack of a 5th story, but he raved about how gutsy it was for me to have axed 12 pages of writing instead of trying to salvage it.
Sure, sometimes you create something and it’s pretty cool. But sometimes you need to cut that thing down to it’s bare bones and rebuild it. It’s risky. The people who loved the original might be furious with you for changing it. It might not come out better than its predecessor.
But you have faith. Faith that if you build it, they will come. Faith that yes, it may be different, it may be a tough transition for some, but in the end, it will be better, stronger, faster and 25% more fun than a barrel of inebriated monkeys.
Let’s hope that’s what WotC did with 4e. I have faith. Do you?