Filling up bars

There’s a lesson video games can teach you: fill up the bars. Filling up the bars is important. Filling up the bars saves the world. These bars would do well to be filled.

I like filling bars. It takes time. It takes what is known as grinding’, and it takes a lot of that. My favourite games–those generally found in the Final Fantasy series—give you so many bars to fill up, you feel like you may never get them done. But that’s fine. I don’t mind the amount of bars. I don’t mind the amount of levels. Bring them on. Grinding is something my hands and my brain like to do. Bars, levels, percentages. It’s all the same.

This is kind of about video games, but it’s mostly about the writing process. It’s a grind. Everyone will tell you that. Every book is an uphill climb. You grind to finish chapters, to finish narratives, to finish draft after draft after draft. You fill up bars; quite literally little bars if you’re using Scrivener. Your page count goes up.

You feel like you’re getting there, but there’s always another bar to fill. Are my characters fleshed out enough? Are my settings painted in a way that you’ll see what I see? Does everything I want to happen, happen? Did I earn the ending I wrote? I make a bar for these things. I try to make it really high. I hope it turns out that way.

August 30, 2012