Let Me Tell You a Story #9: My Soul Is Dark, and So Are My Goals

Not really, but since this is another Dark Souls = writing process post, I figured I should stick to the naming convention I’d set already.

Dark Souls is unlike most games I’ve played before in a lot of ways.  But the one that forms today’s topic is planning.  Playing Dark Souls  goes much better when you set yourself some goals.

Over the course of my next few play sessions, I’ve got three objectives I want to complete:

  1. Farm enough souls to buy the last two spells I need from the first sorceries vendor.  I loaded up on all the available iterations of Soul Arrow to kick some gargoyle butts, but I left a few cheap utility spells for later.
  2. Head back up the church tower and ring the bell!  I was too anxious about potentially losing my souls to press on after said gargoyle butts were done being kicked.
  3. Then, and only then, is it time to hunt for the next bonfire.  I’m playing it safe.

Running around the game world without any kind of plan will get a player lost in a quagmire, or deep in a graveyard running from legions of angry skeletons (oops! that was me once), and eventually, dead.  And while death isn’t an irretrievable catastrophe, it is a setback.  Thus, plans.  Goals.  Objectives.

You know another thing that goes more smoothly with some goal-setting?  Writing!  (Who saw that coming?  Oh, right, everyone.)

Some semi-analogous writing goals:

  1. Farming souls = cranking out the word count.  Just plunk your butt down and grind it out.  Throw those words onto the paper and get it done.
  2. Game plot objective = story plot objective.  Do you see where your story needs to go next?  Okay, then, how do you get there?  With a fixed plot point in sight, figure out how to move your characters toward it.
  3. Searching for that next bonfire = exploratory writing.  “I think I have an idea, maybe, for the next scene–so I’m just going to start writing and see where it goes.”  You might end up in the wrong place after all, a dead end, but you might find what you’re looking for.  And even the dead ends in your story are likely to yield treasure: a line of dialogue or a description that are lovely.  Set the failed scene aside, but hoard the good lines and find new homes for them.

Today, I don’t have a lot of free time.  I might not squeeze in any play time at all–but writing comes first.  And my goal for the day is a complete copy-edit of one chapter of the novel.  Tomorrow, my goal will be something different.  Any goal can be a good one, no matter how small it is.  Even if it’s only “Make myself write for ten minutes, whether or not I think it sucks.”  We all have those days.

But crossing a completed objective off the mental (or physical!) checklist?  Absolutely satisfying.  Look, I got something done today.

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