I talked in one of the last blog posts I wrote about making interactive stories and a few of my thoughts on how they work. I mentioned, in that post, about the game ‘To the Moon’, which is one of my favourite games, along with its sequel, ‘Finding Paradise’. Continue reading
So now that I got that rant from last week out of my system, let’s spend some time on the topic I actually wanted to talk about. Interactivity and Pacing.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about pacing in the past couple of days, because I’ve been editing, and editing means fixing up the horrendous pacing errors I made in the first draft. Continue reading
This started as a post about interactivity in fiction. I will still write that post. I’m just … going to write about this one first because it turned into a Whole Rant. Continue reading
So, in that little poll I did, people did say they were interested in reading me talking about my process for writing, so here’s a quick one on that topic, just an update. I am also aware that most people wanted posts about general writercraft but it’s been a long week and this is what I have right now. I’ll try and get back on topic next week. Continue reading
Is that title the writing-blog equivalent of clickbait? Am I baiting clicks? Well, never mind. The title’s there now and I guess it’s staying. Continue reading
Friends and Internet denizens, I have been trying something new.
After working on The King’s City until I needed to give it one last time to beta readers (if you’re reading this, you know who you are, and I’m so thankful that you’re choosing to help me out despite my demanding timeframe – you are all getting homemade gifts once I can give them to you in person again). Which means that I need to distract myself for the next two weeks so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes.
I’ve done the glass of wine with dinner. I’ve done the two days of doing absolutely nothing related to writing or the project – just rearranging some things on the blog (as much as I can with my limited knowledge) and playing video games online with some friends. But now I’ve had my break, it’s time for me to get back into writing, and that means working on the next project.
This next project is a bit of an odd one. Not in terms of the story itself – though that is certainly odd – but in terms of how I’m approaching it.
Usually when I start writing something, I’ve had it rattling around in my head for a while. I used to write a lot of my worldbuilding at my job (on lunch break … of course …) where I couldn’t bring my laptop, so I would write notes on scrap paper and take it home with me. This formed my worldbuilding notes, which I’d process into the computer, making changes and filling gaps as I went. Then I got Scrivener, and the process of creating easily-referenceable worldbuilding notes got hundreds of times easier.
I made those notes for this story. I have them somewhere. But I think I lost them, and I am not willing to go looking for them again.
But I’ve also had this one rattling around for far longer than any of the others, I think. ‘The Ferryman’s Apprentice’ was a damn long time in the writing, but from idea to execution, I think it was only about eight months. ‘The King’s City’ was a bit longer – I think it was about twelve months before I started to write it. Earlier novels that have been relegated to the desk drawer of fate averaged around twelve months of worldbuilding before I got around to writing them.
FB, the next serial project, has been in worldbuilding development on and off for six years now.
I’m also trying to do my worldbuilding differently here. It has always been true that barely 10% of my worldbuilding notes ever make it into the actual story, and I think that’s not uncommon among writers who use worldbuilding notes. That doesn’t make them useless – worldbuilding notes like that give me a good, solid sense of the world and the plot.
But a lot of the detail that actually ends up in the story is throwaway details – stuff that I didn’t think about before but added at the last minute because I needed to mention something for a scene. I reference my worldbuilding notes for names of secondary characters that I forgot more than I do for worldbuilding details that I need for the story but didn’t remember.
But this plot is different in that it’s been sitting in my mind for so long that I don’t need that sort of formal worldbuilding note to form it anymore. I wrote them, I lost them, and I’m not recreating them.
This time around, I’m going in … well, more unprepared than I’ve been for a story in a long time. I’ve been talking through characters and setting with some friends for a long time, and I’ve been working out some things I absolutely couldn’t start with out (the main character didn’t have a lot of character for a while there, for one). But as for setting up the file, my usual process of adding in all the worldbuilding notes to check that I’ve got a good sense of things?
Well, we’re gonna skip that this time and see what happens. I’m diving right in with only a brief checklist of character notes, important scenes, and important thematic notes.
Let’s see what happens.
So a while back my friends convinced me to add a Thing to my social media, which was a YouTube blog where I talk about all the weird and wonderful things I do with food. I promptly filmed a couple of videos but got terrified of editing them, and have done nothing since.
But now that I’m doing the isolation thing, not only am I getting those videos up but screw it, I’m starting a food challenge. Here’s the idea: Minimising the amount I leave the house is good. Having a pantry full of things that just plain never get used is bad. Being frugal is also good. Experimenting with food is fun.
And as long as we’re all doing this isolation thing, we might as well find both silver linings and entertainment where we can.
So I’m going to start a vlog-type-thing where I talk about what food I’m cooking and eating. The goal is to have no weird odds and ends of bags left in my pantry by the time isolation is lifted. All the half-bags of lentils and specialty flours? Going to get used. All the meals I made and put in the freezer in case I ever needed a dinner at short notice? Going to get used. I’m going to reduce the amount I go shopping as much as physically possible. I’ll still be doing some of the experimenting and recipe creating that I intended to do on the vlog already, but it will absolutely be primarily for the purpose of The Isolated Chef for now.
Here are the exceptions: Fresh fruit and veg, and perishable protein sources. I’m not going to eat a month’s worth of dinners that consist only of homemade flatbread and the remains of a bottle of soy sauce. I’m socially distancing, not giving myself malnutrition. But I will also make substitutions where possible – no going out and buying, say, sweet potato if I already have ordinary potato in the pantry.
I’m going to try and make short videos at least once a week, and see how I do. I’m also going to post photos and a running list of the packets I’ve finished to Twitter. Feel free to chime in with your own recipes and experiments! Let me know what you’re using up out of your pantry/fridge/freezer! And stay safe, everyone.
Third in a row! And hopefully I’ll start getting some other content up soon. Not too much of an update today – there’s not a lot that’s super exciting happening, but there are some things just to keep people updated on.
But before we get into that, I just want to say that I hope everyone is keeping safe and being safe – these are scary times and we have to look out for each other. If you haven’t had a thousand people telling you what to do by now, you’re probably not reading this because you aren’t on the Internet, so I won’t go over all the instructions again. I just want to say that the best tool we have is co-operation and community right now. Keep washing your hands. Be kind. Be safe.
I’ll put the soapbox away now.
And now on the updates note. Last week I put out those Patreon and Twitter polls, and some of you have spoken – the rest of you I am just going to go ahead and assume are fine with whatever happens next.
I asked what people wanted to see more of in the blog, and what people wanted to see, fiction-wise, in the story hiatus period. The results are as follows.
Answers on the blog posts topic were pretty split – some people wanted only general blog posts, but more people wanted a combination of all options. So I’ll be doing mostly just my general writing and writercraft posts, with some palate cleansers thrown in every so often about my writing process (rebooting Edit Pass Live, for example, and I’ve got some worldbuilding process posts planned, since that’s what I’m doing at the moment), and some personal, real-life stuff thrown in when something important happens.
The other part of the poll was what to do about the hiatus. Now that The Ferryman’s Apprentice is finished, I need a little time to work on the next project, due to some Technically Difficulties, by which I mean I’m both indecisive and picky when it comes to my writing projects. I have decided which project I want to work on, but unfortunately it is one of the projects I don’t have a previous draft for, so it’s going to take me a while. In the meantime, people have spoken: Overwhelmingly, people want standalone, one-shot stories, that aren’t related either to upcoming or previous stories. So I’ll whip some of those up and post them. But at least one person did also particularly request the idea of a teaser or trailer in written form, and I do want to do at least one of those, because I want to play with the format – thanks to that person for giving me Ideas.
Speaking of writing projects after The Ferryman’s Apprentice, those are still progressing. The King’s City is still on track for its first-half-2020 publishing date, but I’m expecting to announce the date and (and run a cover reveal) within the week.
As mentioned above, I have also set the next project, and while that’s still on hush for now, I’ll have more information about that as I go. I’ll probably give glimpses as I work on it – and for now the working title abbreviation is FB. If I use that abbreviation, I’m definitely talking about the New Project, not Facebook.
Liberation Industries is now also off hiatus, and we’re putting together new content for that. We’ll be cobbling together episodes via stream and voice call for a while, but we’re still playing games. In the meantime, why don’t you check out some of our backlog?
And finally, I do hate to do this, and I want you to know there’s no pressure. But I have had several contracts postponed or vanished entirely, including at least one event management contract, so my income stream is drying up a bit. If you have the means and are willing, please consider giving me a little boost by buying a copy of The Ferryman’s Apprentice Part One (links on the site page, where you can choose your distributor), supporting my Patreon, or even just spreading the word if you liked my stuff – maybe someone else you know will, too.
And that’s about it from me. Blog posts will start in earnest next week. As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter, or in the comments here. Stay safe and take care of yourselves and each other.
The keen-eyed among you will have noticed that last week I posted the final chapter of The Ferryman’s Apprentice. Continue reading
So I’m now two for two on this monthly updates thing. I hope this is a trend that will continue, but we’ll see how we go. It’s not an unreservedly excited update this time; there’s a few things that I’ve been changing around that I wanted to keep people apprised of. Continue reading