i remember playing mass effect andromeda and seeing the line "it's 'to whom,' and your goddamn father" (who had just died) and thinking it takes a special kind of cruelty to correct a grieving person's grammar, and that's when I realized the writers had no actual empathy.
that might be a bit harsh, so let me put it this way: when I read that line, I recognized myself, back when I was 17, thinking about the cleverness of the grammar jokes I put into the script (because I loved grammar jokes), not thinking about the drama at all.
and the thing is, people liked my writing a lot. the first death threat i ever got was from someone who was mad I'd stopped writing a particular story they were excited to see the end for. but my work ALWAYS suffered when I got meta with it and tried to wink at the audience
I wrote in two modes, a mix of deeply emotional, character-centric work, and the more quirky, what-i-thought-was-clever meta writing, and i eventually realized that just focusing on the character stuff was where I needed to be _because nobody cared about the meta_
the empathy i brought to my work was why people loved it, the long bits where I thought about how a person was feeling and wrote about them going through the feelings. my obsession with structuralism had fucked up my ability to do good writing. so i cut it out.
but there's a particular kind of dishonest, ironybro, "look at me" gen x style of writing, where the writer is so obsessed with making sure you don't think they're uncool that pervades a lot of modern culture that leads just horrendous writing.
other day, i talked with @TheBlackNerd briefly about how certain people who bring awful dishes to thanksgiving are thinking about how people will react to _them_ coming up with a quirky dish and not thinking about if the dish is any good

this is the core issue w/ gen x writers
"they'll think i'm SO clever for this joke" will never land the way you think. "oh man my dill pickle mac n' cheese w/ coconut will be a huge hit" never considers that people might be disgusted by it.

there's a kind of underlying need for attention in heavily meta/ironic writing
when you are thinking about the _externality_ of the writing you cannot write honestly and that's why all the fuckin quirky fake dialogue that's cringy as hell (see: cowboy bebop netflix) sucks ass

because people come to fiction to be compelled, not to admire the writer.
people admire writers who compel them, not writers who are sidetracked by shitty jokes that don't fit the space or the characters
There's a difference in thinking how the audience will react to the story as opposed to you. Like, I have a moment in Waifu Death Squad that I'm trying to build so you actually feel heartbroken when you see a specific character crying for the first time.
But I'm building emotion. I am not thinking at all what you think about me when doing it. I want to get you caught up in the moment and literally forget the story is being written at all. You can't be thinking of me in the moment. I want you to forget it's a story at all
in other words, the writer for bad stupid bull shit designed to make you think about the _writer_ is the white suburban stay at home mom in this tumblr post--they're someone who cares about how they are perceived over having a good job.
with gen x it seems like just a weird fixation on being noticed while bragging about how they're a generation that had to be self-reliant and don't need anybody

with millennials--and, worse, gen z--it's about hustle culture x influencer culture.
one zoomer i knew became subservient to his own brand because he'd built a brand to get attention, and then the brand had to shine through in the work, so he couldn't do what interested him, he could only do what was inside the brand he constructed
all his "look at me, look at my brand" shit both fundamentally limited his ability to be creative and his preoccupation with his brand not only caused him to fuck up a lot of things, but permeated his writing because he needed you to see him in all his writing.
i would rather be recognized as the guy who writes really good stories than everyone be going "oh yeah that's doc he wrote that line." i can only do that with a track record of emotionally compelling work, not cynical meta writing.

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More from @docsquiddy

24 Nov
bloodborne? more like lameborne am i rite
it _appears_ my little brother:

1) deleted my character
2) started over with a strength build
3) got to the witches
4) i never played after killing the witches myself
Ok come on Eileen
Read 5 tweets
22 Nov
I did some more cleaning. It's hard work but I'm getting there. Also did paperwork I needed to, got healthcare phone calls one and two done, so that should be sorted, emailed something, set up Adios for an Xbox sale later this year, made tea, ordered soap and q-tips

Did a lot
Tomorrow I'm gonna try to finish at least the pitch for Waifu Death Squad and maybe abandoned for a lesser god
But for now? Image
Read 9 tweets
22 Nov
was on the xbox backend figuring out how to set sale pricing (it'll go 15% off, since that's as low as we intend to go for a while--but i mean, come on, $15 is what a fuckin dvd costs, it's fine) and saw a couple reviews from people going "it doesn't have multiple endings"
man i don't know if i'll ever make a game with multiple endings
most games I like only have one ending. like halo 3.
Read 6 tweets
21 Nov
working on articles and video games this week. saw a 70" tv on best buy and made whining puppy noises and then closed the tab because my last dental bill was $1338 and the next one will be worse (yes i am upset it wasn't $1337)
i kept my last tv from like 2012 to 2020 and i'm going to try to keep this display until the next console gen, and I'll probably upgrade then as a dev cost but my brain goes "wow, $599 for a 70" samsung? absolutely" and no, just, fuck you, brain.
even if my articles managed to raise $600 this week, and the chance of that is incredibly slim, I'd still have to put all that into paying off the loans incurred when I had to take care of medical debt and shit, and even then it would be way smarter to save up for a car.
Read 5 tweets
21 Nov
my earlier thread talking about how using fiction as therapy for the characters is weird should be an article

probably would want to refine it on the idea that fiction is a thing we engage in to deal with emotions we might not even be directly experiencing.
like, uh, here's an example: i was going to die. i was sure of it. i could feel the rot of the disease taking me. and it was so fucking... just... like I really can't explain it to you. you have to know what despair is, not intellectually, but viscerally, on a cellular level.
so, in 2008, i gave up.
Read 34 tweets
21 Nov
fiction im tired of:

1) characters talking out their feelings in a way that feels like it's the writer saying SEE? THEMES
2) time loop stories (because the goal is usually just 'get out' deathloop was real good tho)
3) going into a character's mind as simplistic therapy
i played a game recently, one I really enjoyed, and twice, I went into a character's mind where they were reliving past trauma and basically just did like "generic LA therapist talk" at them and both times it was the absolute low point of the entire narrative.

4) stories where the twist is that you're not in the real world (and have to escape)

I think really the same is true with mind labyrinth stories.

But it's not the being trapped that bothers me.
Read 33 tweets

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