Where I’ve Been

Where I’ve Been
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bookshelvesI know this blog has been dormant for the past several months. The truth is, I’m running through a gaming dry spell. My GMing is off and I’m having trouble getting myself enthused about my game or writing here. I think that’s largely because my creative energies have been going in a completely new direction.

Like probably a lot of you, I’ve had a dream of writing fiction. A year ago, I decided to stop dreaming and start writing. Up to this point, my forays in fiction have been…well, “terrible” would be a generous description. I’d get a page or two in and then *pwffft*. No more ideas. This time I determined I’d keep at it until I got a first draft and set out with the goal of writing the suckiest first draft I could possibly managed. And because I knew I couldn’t create plots well, I decided to do what many of us did in high school (large warning bells here), I decided to write a story about my current favorite PC. I know, bad, bad, bad. I got permission from my GM to use his homebrew world and many of the NPCs as a starting point for my setting and permission from the other players to use their characters as well (with big warnings that these would be my versions of their characters, so not to expect them to be the same). I did that, thinking that if nothing else, I could use events as the game for my plot.

This is, of course, generally where things go wrong with game fiction. But I wasn’t married to the game events. Just used them as a starting point. I wrote about 200-300 pages of character development, world setting, three or four plot outlines, even a few scenes, but the story was going nowhere. Even when I completely stripped out the game events, the story still went nowhere. I gave myself permission to change anything to make it work as a fiction piece (which actually, I’d done at the beginning of this adventure) and threw out all the game events, all the other PCs and most of the NPCs, except for my main antagonist and his primary agent. That helped. I could tell there was a real story in there, I just wasn’t sure how to get it out. I vetted my PC, my main character, out on a couple of writing boards (“Would you read a story about this character?”) and got a very positive response, so I knew there was  a story to be told, I just needed to keep digging.

A year out from my first start I’m now about a quarter of the way into the new first draft and it’s working. I mean, really working. I’m averaging about 2000 words a week on the rough draft alone. That’s slow going, but it’s taking shape. I’m finding surprises as I write constantly and I’m starting to see the complete picture of the story. What changed? Well, I won’t go into detail here, since this is a gaming blog, but I’ll briefly say How to Think Sideways, a fiction-writing course from Holly Lisle (author of Talyn, Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood, Fire in the Mist and about fourteen other novels) that reminds me of Gamer Lifestyle for fiction writers (having taken both courses now, I can say that ;) ). I’m not an affiliate, just a very satisfied student. I highly recommend the course for anyone with the dream of writing fiction.

I’ve still got some gaming projects in the works. I need to take a day or two and force myself away from the story to finish revising The Adventure Creation Handbook. It’s almost complete. Just needs an edit of the new appendix I added on quick adventure ideas and then some packaging and it’ll be done and out. And I’m still wanting to finish the The Campaign Creation Handbook, but that’s till in first draft. I just need to make myself work on it. Maybe with the reboot of Gamer Lifestyle, I’ll get more inspiration to do it.

I’m starting a writing blog to share my journey (and–I admit it–start promoting the book, since I plan to self-publish). I’m not going to be talking about it here, because this is a gaming blog and I’d guess that most of my readers here probably don’t care about how my novel is going. For those of you who do, my fiction blog is currently titled “Jade’s Fiction” (though I’m going to come up with a better title). There’s nothing up there yet; that’s one of my goals to do tonight. I’m going to try and continue posting here, but if you don’t hear from me, now you know where I am :) .

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3 Responses to “Where I’ve Been”

  1. Paul Gapper says:

    I’ve just received your comment on my blog about the post ‘Try Writing Fiction.’ It says ‘[…] Character: ‘Try writing fiction…’ (paulgapper.wordpress.com) […]’ Was this what you meant to write, or has there been a mess-up?

    Thanks for visiting the site.

    Paul

    • Jade says:

      @Paul That’s because I use a service called Zemanta, which automatically scans the web to find posts that may be related to the one I’m writing. What you’ve gotten is called a “trackback”, in that your blog detects when somebody’s linked to you and reports it as a comment. The [...] lets you know that the comment is a trackback. It’s something WordPress does automatically.

  2. Mike Bourke says:

    Whether it’s deliberately linked or not, such pingbacks generate traffic, and are always appreciated by me. You chose to use that service, so ultimately it was your choice that created the connection. So, I thank you for that choice and wish you success in your writing, both gaming and fictional.
    Mike Bourke´s last blog post ..Straightening a bent line: Measuring complex distances on a map

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