Hopes for Dragon Age 3
Today is my last day doing the Dragon Age Challenge. I admit: Even knowing that I start my “30 NPCs for 30 Days” challenge in a few days, I’m a little sad that this one must end.
Not everything I’ve written for this challenge has been fantastic. And some opinions I’ve expressed here I’ve since changed my stance on, given further reflection and the eloquent, well-reasoned arguments that other writers here have offered.
But I’ve also written some essays for this challenge that I consider among the best prose I’ve ever come up with—or, at least, some of my favorite. Not coincidentally, those works also tend to be intensely personal. As myjusticecake said to me yesterday, only writers can wake up in the morning, open a vein and bleed all over the keyboard, and still consider it a good day.
Yet I haven’t done it in far too long. I am a writer by trade: I own a freelance writing business, which mostly means I write boring, technical stuff that pays the mortgage (although you can find me elsewhere on occasion). When you’re a professional writer, it’s amazing how little actual writing you do. You do plenty of editing and marketing and researching and pitching. But generally speaking, each day involves very few words put to paper or keyboard.
Working on this challenge has made me a better writer, but more importantly, it has made me a more prolific writer. Pumping out 1500 words each morning has become my new daily routine, as habitual as walking my dogs and drinking a cup of coffee. I don’t care if those 1500 words are about unwanted collectible coins or Orsino’s monster fetish. They’re words. That’s all that matters.
Another dirty secret about writing professionally is that to survive in this business, you must be a bit of a chameleon. You develop your own “house style”, to be sure, but in the end you must adapt your voice to fit your clients’ needs, not your own. And after all that primping and preening, you tend to forget what you sound like. All that’s left is who you’re paid to sound like.
These challenge essays, however, have helped me rediscover the style, the sound that is mine and no one else’s. I’ve recovered the confidence, even the stridency, in my prose that I never knew I’d lost. I sound like me again. Of all the things I can thank Dragon Age 2 for – and there are so very, very many – this is what I’ll carry with me the longest, and what matters the most.
This is ostensibly supposed to be an essay about my hopes for Dragon Age 3. But what else could I hope for than another excuse to sit around with new friends and old, debating and analyzing and writing about a universe that has already provided me so much joy? What else could I want than another opportunity to become a better person than I was at the start?
With Dragon Age 3, I don’t need the same kind of life-changing experience I had with Dragon Age 2. I’ll settle for a good story told well, and characters that feel like family. That’s all I could ever really ask for.
And maybe more Varric.
Because we always need more Varric.
(art via camilladilla)