A New Direction (again)

So I’ve been pretty bad at this so far. Honestly, while the subjects I’ve been talking about have interested me, blogging about them in this fashion has been more of a chore than anything else. After some thinking, though, I thinly I have figured it out. No more trying so damn hard. It’s more fun when this isn’t a chore or an item on my to do list.

I’m working on a book and a couple new years resolutions. I’m going to use this place to talk about that from now on. And, you know, probably still bring up the nifty transmedia stuff I come across now and then.

And that means I am going to have a lot more to talk about. I have to get this draft into my editors by March. Back to work!

Syndicate: The RPG

I’ve mentioned Syndicate before. It’s the book I’m working on. I’ve also mentioned that I love some of the transmedia stuff out there to extend the story. What I haven’t mentioned is that I used to play D&D1 and have an unnatural love for Paranoia.

I came across an article2 talking about making your stories into RPGs for some cross promotion if it’s applicable. I did my usual thing and ignored the cross promotion aspect, instead going back and thinking about these stories I’ve made. And you know what? Syndicate could work.

Over the course of the series, there are a lot of things that get introduced to the story universe. There’s a system of magic for different types of people, there’s things that could be called classes, theoretical stats and campaigns. Every quest is essentially a dungeon crawl if you look at it right, but there’s opportunities for much more story driven campaigns as well.

The only issue is that it’s really more of a single player game as the universe stands now. I focus a lot on the freelancers and they aren’t all that keen on getting a group together and splitting the profits in the end. Sure, it happens. It doesn’t happen often enough, though.3

However, at the end of the series, Wipe happens.4 After Wipe happens and things start moving from there, the universe opens up a little more to multiple and single person campaigns. There are more enemies, more chances for random encounters, more of just about everything that would make the world a lot more dangerous to play in, and therefore more fun.

Granted, I’m sure there’s plenty you could do with the universe now, but I rather enjoy the prospects of a land fraught with danger than an organization that people have to report to.

I might have to make the game, is what I’m saying. Eventually. Once I do my research and get the stories themselves written. But one day, you may see the game out there.

  1. I also played some White Wolf in there too. []
  2. Of which I just can’t find []
  3. Well, technically it happens all the time in other districts, but those never get covered in the series. []
  4. No, I won’t be elaborating on what exactly Wipe is just yet. It’s something several years away. []

Novel In Story

I’m working on a book right now. Syndicate is one of those weird concepts that I had that was never supposed to exist. It was supposed to be a universe that appeared as setup for a whole different story that took place in a completely different place, but then I started getting idea after idea for it. And then I started writing those ideas down as several short stories.

The funny thing was, the story didn’t focus around any particular characters or story lines. Sure, there were recurring characters and bits of longer plot threads that popped up here and there amidst the shorts, and a few characters definitely got more attention than others, but this thing I was writing wasn’t a novel. It wasn’t even really a sequence of shorts because, try as I might, these stories needed one another and were going to come as a group.

It’s around this time I learned about the novel in story format (Which appears to no longer exist according to Wikipedia) via more unconventional means. By that, I mean I watched an anime called Boogiepop Phantom, which more or less illustrates what I’d started to create.

A novel in story is a format whereby each chapter reads like it could be a self contained story centring around a central setting, person or possibly theme. The stories are told sometimes linearly, sometimes in an anachronic order, however the author chooses to tell them. When put together, they create a more complete story, though ideally they will all hold up individually as well.

These shorts will sometimes even connect directly to one another via an overlapping character or crossover scenes told from different perspectives. When writing, it’s a little tricky to make sure the details of the scenes still fit, but if it works it usually works as a bit of an “Aha!” moment for the reader who recognizes both. That, and it helps to put the stories in time line context of one another.

Myself and Boogiepop Phantom aren’t the only ones to do this, though admittedly I haven’t found many more. The comic series and Sin City have done this as well. As for books, it’s a little hard to tell because anything that suggests itself as a collection of shorts usually is categorized as an anthology regardless of the context.

The question then becomes: What is the difference between an anthology and a novel in story?

For me, I think it’s those little details in creating crossovers between chapters, episodes, issues or stories. When the parts all really feel like they were meant to fit together somehow and not just written separately, then grouped together because of similar theme.

Now that I’ve seen it in video and comic format, though, I would like to see what other authors are doing with the format. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?

Fiction Friday

It’s time for another installment of Fiction Friday!

A signal is misinterpreted…….

Days off were routine by this point. They had passed by this little shop earlier in the week on the way to a job and now that they had a moment, they decided to check it out. They kind of wanted some new games anyway.

Two sixteen year olds, a boy and a girl, walked into the store. It was a game shop, shelves filled with all sorts of games and consoles along the wall behind the counter. All sorts of things. Mario. Sonic. Whatever else was available at that time. There should be a list somewhere that I can draw on. But it was a lovely game store that these two teenagers walked into, their eyes scanning the merchandise and the sales clerks, who themselves were preoccupied with their own banter.

The teens conferred in glances, the boy flicking his eyes up to the racks, then back at her before heading over to the two behind the counter. He leaned against it, looking around impatiently as the two clerks came to notice he was there. One seemed more annoyed that he’d interrupted their conversation while the other one smiled, eager to help.

“Hello, how can I help you?” the smiling clerk asked.

“I’m doing a little research,” the boy said. “School project. What kind of security do you have installed in a place like this?”

“We aren’t telling you that,” the annoyed one said.

“It’ll be fine,” the boy said, his hand waving away the concern. “So, police button? I see you have cameras set up, any blind spots?”

“No,” the annoyed one said. “We have the cameras, but they haven’t had tape in them since they were first installed. They’re just to scare people into thinking we do. There’s nothing else except the alarms at the front and they just warn us about shoplifters.”

“Oh,” said the boy, interested. “So if I were to do this,” he pulled out a gun and pointed it nonchalantly at the pair of them, “there wouldn’t be anything you could do about it?”

The two clerks backed up immediately, hands in the air and eyes on the barrel of the gun.

“The latest Nintendo system,” he said, not changing the tone in his voice. Obediently, the formerly smiling clerk got it down. “In a bag.” The kid put it all in a bag. The boy picked it up and walked out the door, setting off the alarm, followed by the girl, both of them grinning.

As soon as they walked out of the store, they were no longer the two teens, having gone back to being regular nine year old children strolling unsupervised down the street.

“Did you get it?” the boy asked the girl, looking down at his new Nintendo. The girl withdrew the games she’d walked out with, Mario and several others. The boy was a little sad.

“Aw, I said Ninja Turtles!”

Fiction Friday – A Discovery

It’s time for another installment of Fiction Friday!

A Coming of Age Tale

She hid away in a corner, looking around wide-eyed and terrified. She wasn’t sure where she was or what had happened. A moment ago the castle was being invaded by the humans, the creatures having taken up arms and some of them taking up arts much darker than that. She’d been cornered by one of their wizards as it came after her, cursing that she hadn’t gone through the ritual yet. Without the ritual, she wouldn’t be able to defend herself, no matter how little the creature was.

And now. Now she didn’t know where she was.

The young princess Akosua rested her back into the stone corner, staring out at the world she had landed in. There was odd black stone covering the ground and the walls were made of stone. Odd, but not unfamiliar yet. Then there were the sacks made of something she didn’t recognized with things coming out of it, waste materials that smelled atrocious. There was even a few metal containers that did the same. Metal was so hard to come by, she could hardly believe they weren’t being put to better use. At the edge of the hall she was in there was light coming from torches she couldn’t see and something very familiar. Trees. Maybe she could run through them and hope her father’s men would find her before the humans got to her.

Coming into her little hall, however, she was not so fortunate. There were several humans, all of them looking like barbarians. They wore metal on parts of their body and smelled of alcohol, their hair unlike anything she’d seen and some of their faces painted with war colouring. They were coming for her. She cowered back behind her wings, terrified.

They came closer and closer. She could hear them laughing and talking in a language she didn’t understand. They were coming for her and she knew it.

They drew close enough that one of them leaned back against her and she yelped, her wings spreading and tail thrashing in fear and surprise. The boy who leaned against her flew into the wall and crumpled, the rest of the boys looking on in shock and awe, one of them studdering and pointing.

Ako regarded the boy with her own quiet awe. Draconian women weren’t able to cause harm to any living creature until after the ritual. That was what they’d always been taught, wasn’t it? And yet there was a boy, crumpled to a heap, a bit of blood dribbling down the back on his head and pooling in a stain on his shirt.

The humans. They’d taken over her kingdom, killed her family, set fire to her home. It was time that she took a little revenge for her fallen people.

I’m going to start doing these as first drafts of deleted scenes from various stories I’m working on. “Deleted” meaning scenes that just won’t be making it into the final version. First drafts meaning they aren’t going to be very well written as they’re pretty stream of consciousness.