Sick of Santa Girls & Fanservicey things? Here's something local & traditional instead! Es wird scho glei dumpa, Es wird scho glei Nacht Drum kimm I zu dir her Mei Heiland auf d' Wacht Wo I singa a Liad'l Dem Kinderl dem Kloan Du mogst ja net schlafa I hör' di nur woan Hei Hei, Hei Hei! Schlaf siass herzliabs Kind
Du brauchst doch net woana Kumm sei wieder froh Du hosd zwoar koa Deck'n Nur Heu und nur Stroh Doch d' Engerl die schmück'n Dei Liag'statt scho aus Kann schöner net sei in an König sei Haus Hei Hei, Hei Hei! Schlaf siass herzliabs Kind
Ja Kinderl du bist hoit Im Kripperl so schee Am liabst'n dat I nimmer weg von dir geh I wünsch' dir vom Herz'n die siasseste Ruah Die Engerl vom Himmi die deckan di zua Hei Hei, Hei Hei! Schlaf siass herzliabs Kind
of the Somnova Studios wishes you a very Merry Christmas, wherever you
are. May the Peace and Joy of Christmas be with you always all year
PS: As a little production note, we are trying to do our VN
in a closer & accurate cultural depiction in relation to the
setting, so we have a native Austrian to advise us on story notes.
Cheers to all who has followed our production closely from the beginning
to present and here's a hoping we'll not disappoint your expectations!
Hey, this is keviniskool. I'm one of the new musicians on Missing Stars, and I mean that in more than one way. While I am new to the team, I'm also new to writing music in a formal, organized manner as part of a group effort. For me, this meant no more random genre changes, no more stealing from other bits of songs, and no more waiting around for ideas to happen while the rest of the project moves along. I haven't quite gotten all of these things down yet, but one song in particular has been quite the experience in rewriting and revising, as well as adjusting expectations along the way.
One of the first songs I started working on after my acceptance was a little something called "Recollections". I originally intended it to be a theme for the title menu. This small intention already caused problems for me; I started work on another piece shortly after that I also intended to be the title theme, and both pieces sounded completely different. How was I supposed to reconcile the differences between these two ideas? One was a piece based on a sustained piano sound, and the other was based on slow acoustic guitar.
Of course, being the genius I thought I was, I figured I would implement both parts together. For anyone with a modicum of sense, you probably already figured out how this went: poorly. This lead to my first lesson: don't be afraid to throw away ideas. Before Missing Stars, I never really had to commit to ideas to begin with, so I never had to make the hard choice of throwing out things that didn't work.
So I finally settled on a piano sound, and it sounded pretty good in my opinion. However, one person pointed out that it sounded too repetitive, and that it needed something more. I agreed, and so I added more. And more. And more. What I got didn't sound bad, per se, but it ended up being the opposite of what a menu title theme should be. It ended up featuring a chorus, glockenspiel, three simultaneous piano parts, and a few other sounds I didn't quite understand and still don't. This lead to my second lesson: don't lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish. "Recollections" actually sounded good at this moment in time, but it didn't fit in anywhere, so what was the point? At this point, I had to restart with the instrumentation, and in the process I learned a third lesson:
The first two lessons aren't hard rules, but mere suggestions for learning more lessons.
Sometimes things don't need to be thrown out, but rather reworked to better fit in a new format. There was probably a reason it was thought of to begin with, so there has to be some value to it, regardless of how small it is.
Sometimes losing sight of what you started on can bring you to brand new places you never thought of before, giving you new ideas I wouldn't have thought of other wise. Sure, you might have to restart your train of thought, but now you have a new train to follow later!
That's what all of this is about for me: learning lessons and hopefully becoming a better musician along the way. If you asked me two years ago if I was going to be a musician on a visual novel, I wouldn't have even known what a visual novel was, let alone had the musical knowledge to write for it. Yet here I am.
I'm still learning. I'm not even sure if "Recollections" will make it into the game, let alone what it will sound like. Only one of the instruments I used in the original composition are still in the song, and the revision I am currently on probably won't be the one we use. But I have learned so much from one small song, and I think everyone can learn from it as well.
This is a piano arrangement of "Recollections". I usually don't write sheet music for piano, and I have never had to concern myself much with what's playable before this. It has been an interesting experiment in simplifying a song down to it's most notable elements, and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure I succeeded. However, I always believe that if someone learns something from an experience, it was worth the time. Missing Stars, for me, has been the epitome of this idea, and I hope it continues to represent this idea, not only for me, but for the whole team as well.
They say that one of the marks of an amateurish and unprofessional
artist is that they only work when the mood strikes them – "when they
have [the] inspiration for it". Fortunately for me, and for the majority
of my esteemed colleagues here in the Somnova writing department (As I
would like to believe, for the sake of my fragile artistic ego), we
don't even pretend to be professional, so at least you can't blame that
At the risk of tearing down whatever reputation I might
have painstakingly managed to establish somewhere out there as a writer,
the truth is that I'm not exactly bursting at the seams with brilliant
ideas. To extend the metaphor, you could say that most of the time I'm
practically deflated and have to be moved around via spatula.
as above, a professional writer should ideally be able to spend at
least several hours a day writing regardless of whether they have a good
idea or not (most guides would recommend "write anything, even if it's
crap", to which I would of course reply "am there"), I am ashamed to
admit that on most days I don't write at all. While I am sometimes able
to excuse this by claiming that I have more important things to do than
write a VN I don't even get paid for, the truth is that even factoring
in work and my pathetic excuse for a social life there're still plenty
enough hours left in each day for writing – and I did choose to do this, and I do want to.
cometh the hour of truth, and I've returned from work, and finished my
dinner, and took a shower, and played some Deus Ex (it's one of those
games you just get the occasional urge to play), and I'm finally sitting
in front of that blank Word document and breathing in deeply, and
nothing at all happens. I just stare at the white screen, perspiring
nervously, somewhat embarrassed, and no writing. The characters can't
speak. The descriptions don't pop into existence. The order of things
doesn't make sense. I know, it's been said a million times before by a
million writers both wiser and more talented than I am, but it doesn't
make it any less true or troubling.
A character in one shitty KS
fic I've written back in the day has once thought something along the
lines of "to say that mathematics should be simple and intuitive just
because it's all ultimately about numbers would be like saying that
poetry should be because it's ultimately all about words." And poorly
written as the character might have been, I still think this particular
statement is not untrue. The words are there, at least most of the time.
Having difficulty expressing ideas you already have is a problem by and
of itself (and, like this one, more than deserving of a dozen blog
posts), but isn't in this case relevant. Furthermore: regarding Missing
Stars, the basic resources of the plot are there, too – I have my
characters, and the general theme I want to deliver, and usually an idea
of what I want there to be in a scene – but as with mathematics,
something is still missing, and for lack of a better term, that
something shall be called inspiration. Different writers have different
methods of finding it – or perhaps reaching a "state" of it, if you like
to think of it that way. Some listen to music, or read other books, or
go on a walk outside, but for the most part I'm afraid none of the above
works for me.
It's depressing to think about, but I do believe
that much like charisma or a talent for music, inspiration is something
some people are just born with different amounts of. With practice, and
effort, you can increase this amount marginally – but no matter how much
you work you will simply never be able to come up with ideas as easily
as that bastard on the news who published his first book when he was
half your age (and for all of how much you'd like to tell yourself it
sucked to feel better about it, you know it didn't). Naturally, that
doesn't mean the rest of us can't try.
And still it's a problem,
because it makes work progress somewhat of a random thing. Everybody
likes to think that one day they'd hit their Lewis Carroll point and
churn out a masterpiece in one night of the blue (disregarding the fact
that Charles Dodgeson was a god-damn genius in more ways that can be
described in this note), but more often and realistically it would
simply mean no work for two weeks straight because you just can't come
up with anything. You know what needs to happen, you may even know how,
but you can't put the words together. You can't imagine yourself doing
it. That's the whole point – and it's incredibly frustrating. Especially
frustrating is that, at least for me, "inspiration" seems to have a
habit of hitting exclusively when I am completely unable to make use of
it – while I am in the middle of a ten kilometer run, or busy at work,
or lying in bed in 3:32 AM and there's work tomorrow. The way the mind
works (mine, at least), by the time I can rush to the nearest computer
to write everything down it's all evaporated away like a weak and idle
theme (to quote a certain knavish sprite), seemingly wonderful and
painfully out of reach. Some details are remembered, but details don't
make a story – they make, at best, a synopsis. I often try to cheat by
quickly writing everything I can mentally grab down, but this is neither
efficient nor always possible. The funny thing about inspiration is
that when it comes, it comes fast and hard. Faster than the fingers can
move, in some cases, except in a vain attempt to create an unsatisfying
imitation of something great.
It might very well be that the whole idea is by itself the excuse of the lazy writer, or the talentless one trying to
make things easier on themeselves by blaming their lack of ability to
write on something as intangible and random as the whims of a fickle
muse, but even acknowledging the problem wouldn't make it disappear.
The good news is that, while all
the above holds true, there are certain ways of dealing with the problem
(though fixing it altogether seems tragically and logically
impossible): the benefit to working with a whole team of writers
(balanced out as it is by the numerous annoying disadvantages) is the
possibility to gain feedback and brainstorm at almost any time and on
almost any subject, whether via actual conversation or simply by reading
each other's' work and using it as a randomizer for the words floating
in your own head. And while none of the methods mentioned a couple
paragraphs back "do the trick", it is likely that under the right
circumstances they too can be useful. Speaking for myself, I also
sometimes find it an effective method to put aside the work on MS for a
few moments and focus on writing something else – be it a fanfic or a
completely unrelated work or an overelaborate too-wordy blog post full
of purple prose and misplaced quotes.
And ultimately, nothing too bad can come out of simply trying, time and a time again, to write by the vague plan you sort-of-have, and hoping that even if the result is shitty it might at least be a milestone in the way to something better, somehow. The mind, as we were quick to learn while working on this project, works in mysterious and magical ways.
Being a writer is hard, but
it's also satisfying. That, too, isn't anything new to anyone, but for
the first time in my life, I can truly, absolutely feel it for myself
(or so I'd like to think). For me, at least, lack of inspiration to put
together my ideas is among the worst troubles (if not the very worst) on
the way to accomplishing the monumental task of writing this story and
making it somewhat enjoyable.
Hopefully, everything will work out in the end. Now back to work.