Sunday, June 01, 2008

If Books were more like MMORPGS

Some of the discussions I have been having of late are about story, narrative flow, and massively multiplayer games. And it is admitting that the games have different requirements, features, and challenges than, say, your typical novel, which provides all sorts of potential opportunities and pitfalls when comparing the two. In the midst of this, we turned it around, and tried to imagine what would happen if novels behaved like mmorpgs.

If novels were more like mmorpgs -
- The publisher and author wouldn't expect you to finish the book.
- Most of the action, cool imagery, and editing would be concentrated in the first five chapters, where more people could see it.
- The first chapter would be a tutorial on how to read the book. Every time.
- Special attention would be paid in the first appearance of the question mark and the exclamation point.
- The colon makes its appearance in Chapter Seven: There is no particular mention of it.
- It will be assumed that everyone will know the ending, thanks to spoilers on the internet.
- Most people aren't really reading the book for the story, so don't throw in anything that gets in the way of the words appearing on the page.
- The last three chapters are considered "high end content" and expected to be read only in groups, like book clubs.
- If you finish the book, the author sends you a cookie.
- Your advanced reading copy would be more like a beta weekend. If you didn't like something, it would be gone from the final book.
- Three weeks after purchase, ninjas break into your home and replace the book with a version with all the typos corrected.
- Three months after purchase, ninjas break into your home and replace the book with a version where the protagonist is less powerful. You find out about this from people on the net complaining about the hero being nerfed.
- Three years after purchase, if not enough people are reading the book, ninjas break into your home and remove all copies.
- Your credit card reflects an ongoing charge for owning the book, whether you are reading it or not.

Anything else? More later.