I ended up making five entries to the leaderboard contest in ENDLESS WAR. I drew one so quickly that I had actually forgotten I submitted it, even though it received plenty of positive reaction. I missed it during the livestream, so when I watched it later, although there were parts I wish I would have commented on, overall, I’m happy enough that it got a good reaction because I’m learning to follow my amusements more.
Let me quickly qualify that by saying that I don’t mean to balk at personal responsibility in the name of doing things your own way. What I mean is, say you get an idea that you want to do, like draw a silly picture of you and a friend. “DaKAT and I were on the leaderboard at the same time, so I wondered, what if we went to the Bodega, and were sneered at by the hipster behind the counter adorning Endless War tattoos?” When you get a funny idea like that, and it’s reasonably possible to execute it, why not do it?
I don’t know how long this picture took to complete, but it wasn’t long enough to be too memorable. Some of these entries took hours longer or required more thought. This was just me thinking about a funny idea and going through with it. When we give ourselves into some degree of creative spontaneity, sure, that does mean we have to grind out the work, but sometimes we come up with fun results.
For example, I was really happy with the first sketch I did of DaKAT here, so I mirrored it and used it as the mirror picture. In the livestream, they did wonder about it, but someone suggested that they make an item in the game that turns you into a Microsoft Paint version of yourself when you look at it, so it got a laugh. For something like this, it was all about drawing something funny, so my character, too, looks goofy as can be.
DaKAT, for me, was the main draw since he was one of the newer players at the time and a friend of mine that’s been helping out with some of the language and culture consultations for Novel 02, so I wanted to draw a cool picture of him. I didn’t put much focus on the background since it was just him, my character, and then the question was – how do I design this hipster? He’s a character that, in-game, scoffs at everyone’s fashion, so I figured, why not look up various hipsters until I find something that fits? I doodled a little bit and although, perspective-wise, he turned out super small, everyone really enjoyed it.
I’m working on another picture of him from a different perspective, with a different character I’m thumbs-ing-up to spread the wealth some more and to give more context. So, how can you apply this to your life? Well, in any of the creative pursuits you enjoy, why not take a casual spin through an idea that strikes your fancy? I suppose on the creative energy spectrum, I tend to be more of a one-and-one sort, so I’ll think up ideas and complete them, whereas I can appreciate that others may sit on incomplete drafts. This mindset may not apply to others, so what I would say to them is something almost similar: take an idea like this, then finish it completely.
I later used this an example of adding to the culture of ENDLESS WAR in an emic way, which is to say from within. Let’s say I were to go into ENDLESS WAR and add in characters from “The Story.” That seems weird and kind of disrespectful, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve seen it at least twice, and it’s always weird when people force their ideas into a pre-existing world with its own rules. No matter how loose. ENDLESS WAR has actually been a great teacher of worldbuilding for me, along with meeting new people in creative disciplines, because for someone like the Bodega Hipster or anything in ENDLESS WAR, everything is canon until something funnier comes along.
Here’s my idea for the Bodega Hipster.
In-game, the two factions Killers [purple] and Rowdys [pink] compete to own various districts. My joke is that when the Rowdys own the Bodega, his skin is pink, but when the Killers own the Bodega, his skin is purple. Just a funny gaff. If I’m the only one that throws it out there, and others don’t run with that idea, and instead take his character design in a different direction, then that’s the direction it goes, until it’s codified enough. Let’s say that idea catches on and people are amused. Then if more people draw fanart of him like that, that’s canon.
I would say that’s a valuable analogy to worldbuilding and fiction-writing, too.
When I write essays about “The Story,” not every single idea will make it into the novels. But throwing out the ideas will help me figure out what sticks and what doesn’t. Let’s say the skin-changing thing gets people laughing. Then people will want to do their own version of the character with that feature. What would happen when the map is reset and no one owns the Bodega? These are the sorts of things that, in a larger world you don’t own and control, you can learn to work within and can be fun. There are no wrong answers. If you contribute some terrible idea, people will ignore it.
Similarly here, I don’t have to use any or all of the ideas I pitch for “The Story.”
What tends to happen, though, is that I’ll write about the same ideas. When I review older essays and remember good ideas, then, yeah, that’s a good way to go, too. But I’ve never considered myself beholden to any of the ideas I’ve generated for “The Story,” just as no one cares about dumb ideas in ENDLESS WAR.
Exorcise and exercise any idea.
|Quotes: The quote above was from myself, which I cited in-line.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Writing about my experiences watching the livestream where my picture was judged.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Picture: Oh, I already used these pictures in “First Hipster Fanart??” Ooops.|
|Written On: 2020 July 26 [11:01pm to 11:25pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 July 26 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|