I’m writing this having just finished my first gamebook for the series that I have been calling Cymerian, but I’ll call something else, because there’s also a band called Cymerian.
I’ve been planning the system for ages, and I’m glad that I just sat down and wrote a book as there are several things that I never would have been able to plan with planning. I’m finally past trying to make the perfect price list or monster manual, because I’ve realised that the best way to do it is to just make these decisions as they come up. They will give me a context with which to make these decisions in and then I can make them in about 30 seconds rather than agonising over them for ages in a contextless setting and changing them in a week’s time anyway.
I’m a bit clearer on what this series will be like. With lots of real life commitments, I intend to write these books in a short space of time and get them out at a rate of once a month, and to do that, I can’t spend ages on checking.
I also enjoy being able to write something just for me that won’t be presented to someone else to check and tell me to change. I’m glad I do do these things because it means I raise my game, but I also have a desire to see things finished and the best way to do that is to do something for myself.
I was reading the E myth revisited and it gave a good analogy to what I’m trying to say. In seminars, the author asks the audience to raise their hands if they can cook a burger that’s better than one in McDonald’s. And everyone can, of course. He then goes on to explain why McDonald’s is so successful, McDonald’s is successful, not because of the quality of its food, but because of its excellent system of producing burgers of a consistent quality at a fast speed. People don’t always want to dine on fine food and so McDonald’s works by giving a lot of people something that their happy with quickly.
This is what I want my gamebook series to be about. I’m not aiming for quality literature, deep plots
or purple prose. I want to get out a gamebook of at least 100 sections every month that gives your character a chance to grow, have some fun and keep you occupied for a short time. I made the system to be robust enough that I can make the occasional mistake with the rolls (for example, having a difficulty that is too high) and still your character might have the resources necessary to survive, because I can’t do lots of playtesting. And to do that, I can’t spend ages on making it perfect. I will make sure it’s of a certain quality – the links work, it’s proffread, etc., but I’m not trying to win every awards. I’m aiming for quantity over quality.
In short, my gamebook series is the McDonald’s of gamebooks.